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The World Bank Group has launched the Human Capital Project (HCP) to mobilize efforts to address these gaps. The project is intended to raise awareness of the costs of inaction and make the case for investing in people through country engagement and analytical work. The goal of the HCP is a world in which all children arrive at school ready to learn, the time spent in school translates into better learning, and they can grow up to live and work as healthy, skilled, and productive adults. The main text of this volume—which also appears as chapter 3 in the 2019 World Development Report: The Changing Nature of Work —describes the evidence supporting the importance of human capital for people, economies, and societies and lays out the rationale and context for the HCP’s theory of change. The Human Capital Index methodology is detailed in the appendix.

What is Human Capital and What is the Human Capital Project?

Human capital consists of the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate throughout their lives, enabling them to realize their potential as productive members of society. We can end extreme poverty and create more inclusive societies by developing human capital. This requires investing in people through nutrition, health care, quality education, jobs and skills.

Why now? The cost of inaction on human capital development is going up. Without human capital, countries cannot sustain economic growth, will not have a workforce that is prepared for the more highly-skilled jobs of the future, and will not compete effectively in the global economy.

What is the World Bank’s response? The World Bank Group announced the Human Capital Project in 2017. The project is underway, with a new Human Capital Index launched in October 2018, and close to 30 pilot countries working with the World Bank Group on strategic approaches to transform their human capital outcomes.

How will the Human Capital Project have an impact? The Human Capital Project is expected to help create the political space for national leaders to prioritize transformational human capital investments. The objective is rapid progress towards a world in which all children arrive in school well-nourished and ready to learn, can expect to attain real learning in the classroom, and are able to enter the job market as healthy, skilled, and productive adults.

Where can I learn more? Learn more about human capital by reading through the stories, blogs, and frequently asked questions (FAQ) below. Tune in to the Human Capital Summit, follow updates from the 2019 World Development Report, The Changing Nature of Work, and join others talking about why we must #InvestinPeople. Finally, be sure to check this site for updates and read more about the Human Capital Project


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