President of World Bank, Jim Kim, has called on world leaders, especially those from Africa and Asia, to invest in human capital development as a means of improving the lives of younger generations.
According to Kim, who made the submission at the Global Citizens Movement Makers Summit in New York, on Tuesday, this will enable young people improve their survival skills.
Kim in an interview panel anchored by business correspondent of MSNBC news, Ali Velshi, said for Africa and Asia to attain the sustainable development goals, they must refocus their agenda by investing more in human capital development.
He said the world was moving away from what the donors needed to donate to what governments were investing in people in terms of education, health and empowerment which would allow them to be able to compete in the world.
He said no matter how generous donors were, Africa and some Asian countries might never attain the sustainable development goals, if the people from these continents do not have equal opportunities to compete with the larger world.
The World Bank president said in order for them to be able to compete, they must have good quality education, which would translate to capacity building and economic development for the nations.
“Almost everyone in these countries now has a mobile phone and they can see almost everything going on. So there is the aspirations of wanting to achieve these things they see. It is when they can’t that they become agitated, restless and aggressive,” he said.
Kim said the World Bank would be releasing a human capital index report on all the countries by October, adding that most countries would be shocked with the report as it showed governments how each fared in human capital development.
He said for a country like Nigeria where 30 per cent of its under five population are stunted and many malnourished, there was likely to be a problem in the future.
He said to forestall these, the governments needed to restrategise and look inward to develop young generations in the lower and middle income countries for them to have equal opportunities to compete anywhere around the world.
“Poor countries still face tremendous challenges, as almost a quarter of the children under the age of five are malnourished, and 60 per cent of primary school children are failing to achieve even a rudimentary education.
“In fact, more than 260 million children and youth in poor countries are receiving no education at all. The moral case is that investing in health and education of all people will translate to economic one as well.
“This will make them ready to compete and thrive in a rapid changing environment. Human capital which is the potential of individuals is going to be the most important long term investment any country can make for its people’s future prosperity and quality of life,” he said.
This is not the first time Africa, especially Nigeria would be advised to invest in human capital development as a means out of poverty, which is believed to be eating deep into the country.
According to the Goalkeepers data report released by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, by 2050, more than 40 per cent of the extremely poor people in the world will live in just two countries: Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.