Investment In Human Capital, Woman-Focused Health Services Will Help Sahel Nations Close Opportunity Gap, World Bank Officials Say

Project Syndicate: Closing the Opportunity Gap in the Sahel
Annette Dixon, vice president of Human Development at the World Bank Group, and Hafez Ghanem, vice president of the World Bank for Africa

“…The countries of the Sahel rank among the world’s lowest on the Human Capital Index, which quantifies the contribution of health and education to the productivity of the next generation of workers. … To ensure that all people — not just those lucky enough to be born into relative geographic, gender, or socioeconomic privilege — can fulfill their potential, governments must invest more in human-capital formation. This means strengthening education systems, so that residents can acquire the skills they need to thrive economically. And it means ensuring access to quality health and nutrition services. … But making the most of such investments demands not only generalized efforts, but also delivery of services tailored for girls and women, from family planning through childhood and adulthood. … [W]oman-focused health services ultimately help to raise living standards and break the cycle of poverty, while spurring broader economic development…” (10/1).