Tanzania is set to host the Africa Human Capital Heads of State Summit in July 2023.
President Samia Suluhu Hassan, together with several other leaders on the continent will rally interested parties to prioritize investment in Africa’s human capital.
The two-day Africa Human Capital Heads of State Summit comes in response to engagements with government focal points on the need to draw attention to the role of human capital in economic growth.
Running between 25 and 26 July 2023, the high-level meeting is set to elevate the discussion on the importance of investing in people.
According to a statement from the World Bank Africa, the Summit will foster technical deliberation, share the latest knowledge on human capital, and conclude with concrete commitments and next steps from the participating Heads of State.
The overall theme of the Summit is linking investments in human capital to economic growth and harnessing the demographic dividend, by addressing learning poverty and the skills gap for youth and women.
Learning poverty is the share of children unable to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10, which is estimated to be 89 percent in Africa.
The two-day summit will bring a bottom-up demand to human capital prioritization and investments through technical workshops in all Sub-Saharan countries.
Participants will discuss challenges and bottlenecks to human capital accumulation along with identification of priorities and drivers of growth.
These workshops will be led by country Human Capital Focal Points.
The outcomes of country-level workshops will be used to inform high-level Heads of State summit interventions.
Sub-Saharan Africa entered the last decade with significant deficits in human capital—the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives.
The region’s average Human Capital Index was the lowest among all the world’s regions.
A large proportion of African countries are at the bottom of the Human Capital Index.
Overlapping global challenges of the last three years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation, and the war in Ukraine leading to hiked up fuel, grain, and fertilizer prices—have further restricted the accumulation of human capital.
These effects have also worsened the recovery of the human development losses seen during COVID-19.
With impacts generally worse for children in poor households, this has translated into greater inequality.
The current education system is at capacity, and the demand will increase with nearly 750 million children expected to be of school age by 2060.
The rapid increase in cohorts of children and young people presents a significant fiscal pressure on governments in terms of service delivery needs, early childhood development interventions, and sustained investment in accessible and quality education for all, especially girls.
“It is time to change the narrative on human capital from being mere expenditures to productive investments that are high GDP contributors.”
“For example, one extra year of education correlates with 10 percent higher household income, and one extra year on average for a country translates overall to 2.5 percent higher GDP per capita.