Countries can bolster human capital to better withstand future economic shocks, says World Bank

Countries that protect their population’s education, health, knowledge, and skills – that is, their human capital – now and during future shocks will emerge with lower levels of negative economic impact than those that do not, according to a new World Bank report released May 2.

“The quality and resilience of the education, health, and social services that people can access substantially affects their ability to cope with shocks and crises, especially in the case of poor and vulnerable people,” said Jamele Rigolini, World Bank Lead Economist for Human Development in the Europe and Central Asia Region. 

“Since new shocks that threaten livelihoods and prosperity will continue to emerge, it is important to invest in human capital systems with urgency now, and to protect human capital throughout the shocks themselves.”

The lessons outlined in the report focus on 1) preparation now for future crises such as by instilling effective health preparedness and monitoring plans; 2) continuing responding after a crisis to close crisis-induced human capital gaps, 3) protecting the financing of the human development sectors, 4) boosting data, information, and evidence-based responses, and 5) digitalization of education, health, and social protection administration and delivery systems.

“Strong education, health and social protection systems are able to deliver better quality services in normal times, and respond better to emergencies,” said Rigolini. “System strengthening and resilience go to a large extent hand in hand, hence investing in human development systems helps both improving long-term human capital outcomes and protecting people from crises.”

Photo credit: iStock/ imtmphoto

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