World Bank Africa VP Hafez Ghanem.
By Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Africa
Progress inside fight against extreme poverty in Africa has been way too slow. Although the poverty rate has declined by 54 percent in 1990 to 41 percent in 2015, a rapid population growth of 2.6 percent per year has offset these gains, resulting in 130 million more poor people. Today more than half of the entire world’s 725 million people living in extreme poverty are in Africa. The war against poverty will be won or lost in Africa. along with This specific must be won.
Fighting African poverty should be a global concern. The rising number of extremely poor Africans will be a major developmental along with humanitarian challenge for the continent. This specific also could have far-reaching social, political along with economic implications for the rest of the entire world, along with particularly for Europe.
I believe that will Africa will be lagging the rest of the entire world in poverty reduction because This specific has not invested sufficiently in its people. Of course, infrastructure, macro-economic stability, institutions along with governance are important for growth along with poverty reduction. yet unless Africa carries a healthy along with educated population, This specific will not succeed in attracting enough quality investment to close the infrastructure gap, along with institutional along with governance reforms will continue to yield disappointing results.
the entire world Bank has recently presented a brand new “Human Capital Index (HCI)” that will captures the productivity along with economic potential of a country’s population. This specific combines measures of child survival rates, access to education along with its quality, along with health outcomes.
Studies have shown a very strong relationship between the values of This specific index along with growth outcomes. Those results are quite intuitive. Without a healthy, educated along with resilient population countries cannot compete effectively inside entire world economy. This specific will become increasingly true in coming years as technology will be changing the nature of work, along with the frontier for skills will be moving rapidly bringing both opportunities along with risks.
The HCI results for Africa are cause for concern. Twenty-all 5 of the bottom 30 countries inside entire world are in Africa. Africa’s education systems are in crisis with about 50 million children out of school, low completion rates along with weak learning outcomes. The situation will be not much better on the health side. Nearly one third of African children are stunted. that will will be, they will never reach their full physical along with mental potential. Too many of Africa’s poor are not covered by any social protection or labor program, leaving them to fend alone during crises. These statistics are tragic yet can be changed.
If the long-term aspirational goal of providing complete education along with full health to Africa’s citizens was achieved—generating an HCI score at the top of the range—then the continent’s Africa’s GDP per worker could be 2.5 times higher than current levels. So investing in health, education along with social protection in Africa carries a substantial return along with should be a top priority.
Investing in education does not simply mean building more schools. This specific requires programs for early childhood development; strengthening curricula for the modern economy, including developing soft skills like problem solving, along with supporting teachers to be more effective. along with schools must be more accountable for learning outcomes.
Investing in health will require better health systems having a stronger focus on maternal along with child health, nutrition along with on female reproductive health. During a recent visit to a hospital in Bingerville, a poor suburb of Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire, I saw how seemingly simple reforms can dramatically reduce maternal mortality along with stunting rates. The first reform linked additional financing to specific outcomes. The second created a transparent oversight along with management structure representing the interests of doctors, the community along with the government. Better management, buy-in by all players, along with additional funds for not bad results. added together, save the lives of mothers along with children.
This specific could be extremely difficult to improve Africa’s HCI, along with hence its growth along with poverty reduction prospects, without greater investment in female reproductive health having a view to reducing fertility rates. African women on average have 4.8 children, twice the entire world average of 2.4. They often have too many children at too young an age, with too little time in between births for them to stay healthy. This specific pattern not only puts mothers along with children at risk, This specific also strains public services along with budgets.
Africa can benefit by the experience of countries around the entire world that will have lowered fertility rates. The most successful interventions have included mobilizing support by community along with religious leaders, promoting initiatives to keep girls in school along with delaying marriages.
Africa’s greatest resource will be its young people, with their energy, creativity along with resilience. The 21st century could produce an African renaissance if governments along with their development partners prioritize investing in people, especially the youth. Ensuring that will Africa’s youthful population will be healthy, educated along with well-equipped for the future will be the best way to eradicate poverty in Africa along with contribute to the entire world’s stability along with prosperity.