Botswana's Worrying Human Capital Index

In 2018,the World Bank launched the Human Capital Project (HCP), a project of advocacy ,measurement and analytical work to raise awareness and increase demand for interventions to build human capital. The Human Capital Index (HCI) was one of 3 components of HCP and it aimed to measure the amount of human capital  that a child  born today can expect to attain by age 18  given the state of health and education that prevail in the country where he/she lives. It is designed to highlight how improvements in current health and education outcomes shape the productivity of the next generation of workers, assuming that children born today experience over the next 18 years the educational opportunities and health risks that children in this age range currently have access to.

Botswana's Human Capital Index currently stands at a meagre 0.42. Put in layman terms,this figure means that a child born in Botswana today will achieve only 42% of what they would have achieved with access to complete and proper education and full health. They would fail to achieve 58% of their potential. Along with other Sub Saharan countries,Botswana falls in the lowest range of HCI in the world (HCI does this measurement in 157 counties).

This is a very worrying figure because it means the next generation of our country will fail dismally to reach their potential compared to their peers in most developed countries (North American and European countries mostly have an HCI of 0.75 or more). It simply means our next generation is not going to have it any better than the current generation if nothing is done to improve the sectors which are the objects of measure of the HCI.

Although the HCI is mostly low in fragile resource abundant countries,it is surprising that despite Botswana not being what would be classifies as fragile (a fragile state is a developing country characterized by weak state capacity or weak state legitimacy leaving citizens vulnerable to a range of shocks like civil conflicts etc), our HCI is still so slow. From this observation,it would not be far fetched for one to assume that the reason for the country's low rating is not because of fragility but poor and inefficient access to health and education services by the populace. To increase the HCI therefore,focus should be exalted on coming up measures which would ensure efficient access to the aforementioned services.

PS:The next post i will be discussing the World Bank's "Digital Moonshot" initiative and how its realization can serve as a way to to increase not only Botswana's Human Capital Index for the next generation but the quality of life for the current generation.