Banjul, June 6th2023 – Today, the World Bank announced the release of a comprehensive review of human capital performance in The Gambia and the actions needed to develop, use and protect human capital in the country. The review, led by a team of experts, highlights the crucial role of human capital in accelerating long-term economic growth and social progress.
Human capital – the knowledge, skills, health and nutrition accumulated by individuals throughout their lives – is an important determinant of a nation’s prosperity. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decline in human capital among children and youth. The Gambia, with its high population growth and limited access to basic infrastructure, has faced challenges in reducing poverty. The pandemic has further exacerbated poverty rates and high inflation, driven by food prices, threatens the ability of households to invest in and protect human capital.
“Human capital is the cornerstone of The Gambia’s development. This study provides valuable information on the challenges facing the country and the actions needed to build, use and protect its human capital. This is a call to action for collaboration across sectors and across government,” said Feyi Boroffice, Resident Representative of the World Bank.
Gambia’s Human Capital Index (HCI) for 2020 stood at 42.4%, indicating that a child born that year will only be 42.4% as productive as they could be. be if he had full access to health and education. It should be noted, however, that The Gambia’s HCI index is higher than the sub-Saharan African average and that of neighboring countries.
The study highlights that Gambian women have higher HCI scores than men in all components, highlighting their achievements in adult survival rates, health and educational outcomes. The HCI index for both men and women showed improvement before the pandemic hit.
The review identifies four key challenges for human capital development: financing, lack of coordination and inefficiency in administration, quality and accessibility. It highlights the need for a coordinated multi-sectoral approach to strengthening human capital and proposes priority actions throughout the life cycle.
Anne Hilger, economist at the World Bank of the magazine adds, “Investing in children’s early years, improving the quality of social services, creating equal opportunities for women and democratizing data are essential steps to unlocking the potential of The Gambia’s human capital. In doing so, we can pave the way for economic growth. social prosperity and a better future for our young people.
The review highlights the importance of investments in education, healthcare, social protection and entrepreneurship. It highlights the need to improve teacher quality, expand social safety nets, promote training and TVET, create an enabling business environment and protect human capital in the face of shocks such as the pandemic of COVID-19 and climate change.
The findings of this study provide a roadmap for policymakers, stakeholders and development partners to work together to build a strong and resilient human capital base in The Gambia.