Building Strong Human Capital in Iraq

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The FINANCIAL — A child born in Iraq will be 40% as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health, according to the World Bank’s new Human Capital Index (HCI) released October 11 in Bali.

Decades of conflict have impacted a range of the country’s human and economic development indicators. Iraq is an early adopter of the World Bank’s Human Capital Project and plans to invest in its people to overcome development deficits with programs such as increasing early childhood development and the expansion of social protection systems.

The Human Capital Project aims to encourage policymakers to invest more in children’s health, education and social protection to boost the incomes of people—and of countries— and build the human capital that is a central driver of sustainable growth and poverty reduction. The HCI is a key element of the Project that allows countries to measure how much income they are foregoing because of human capital gaps, and how much faster they can turn these losses into gains if they act now.

The HCI shows that a child born in Iraq today will be 40 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she enjoyed complete education and full health. Children in Iraq can expect to complete 6.9 years of pre-primary, primary and secondary school by age 18. However, when years of schooling are adjusted for quality of learning, this is only equivalent to 4 years with a learning gap of 2.9 years.

As an early adopter of the Project, Iraq has nominated focal points within the government to partner with the World Bank Group. Early adopter countries have begun work on elevating human capital policy dialogue across all government ministries and identifying national priorities for accelerating progress on human capital, based on each country’s own development plans.


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