By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijan is among the top 10 global improvers in progress made on health and education, according to World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) 2020, which measures pre-pandemic human capital outcomes around the world.
According to the report, Azerbaijan has increased human capital index by 0.08, from 0.50 to 0.58, while there were almost no change in the country’s GDP per capita. The value of 0.58 means that a child born today in Azerbaijan can expect to achieve 58 percent productivity of a fully educated and optimally healthy person in adulthood. It should be noted that this is slightly above the average for upper-middle income countries, and Azerbaijan still has opportunities to improve the productivity of its citizens.
Young people in Azerbaijan, as well as in other countries of Europe and Central Asia, get the opportunities necessary to grow up productive adults through continuous investment in health and education.
A recent study Survive, Learn, Thrive: Strategic Human Capital Investments to Accelerate Azerbaijan’s Growth, conducted by the World Bank and the government of Azerbaijan, revealed progress and challenges in building and activating human capital in Azerbaijan. In addition, over the past 10 years child mortality rates and child stunting rates in Azerbaijan have decreased significantly. However, despite an increase in the number of years of schooling, there is a growing disparity in learning outcomes.
Moreover, it was stated in the repport that in order to meet the current challenges of human capital development in education, Azerbaijan needs to increase access to early education programs and make higher education more relevant. Thus, in the health system, the system’s response to chronic diseases must be improved and financial resources must be used more effectively to ensure more efficient delivery of health care. In addition, in the area of social protection and employment, the country needs to increase investment in social assistance to support the most vulnerable segments of the population and expand the scope and coverage of active labor market programs.
"Azerbaijan’s population, its ‘human capital’, is the most precious resource in the country and the World Bank is committed to supporting opportunities to further enhance the well-being and productivity of the population – across ages and genders and regions," said Sarah Michael, World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan.
The World Bank has started economic cooperation with Azerbaijan in 2001 with the aim of increasing institutional capacity of the country and building efficient management of oil reserves.
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