T&T has been placed ahead of all the other countries of the Caribbean in the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI).
The country has been given a score of 0.60 (lower band 0.57, upper band 0.62) on the HCI, which ranges between 0 and 1.
The index is measured in terms of the productivity of the next generation of workers relative to the benchmark of complete education and full health.
According to the World Bank in it’s report titled “The Human Capital Index 2020: Human Capital in the time of COVID-19”, an economy “in which a child born today can expect to achieve complete education and full health will score a value of 1 on the index.”
The World Bank report continued to note that the lower and upper bounds indicate the range of uncertainty around the value of the HCI for each economy.
Had there been ranks on the HCI, T&T would have been placed 67th, ahead of St. Lucia (68th), Antigua and Barbuda (73rd), St. Kitts and Nevis (77th), Grenada (87th), Dominica (95th) and Jamaica (97th).
One of the reasons that the World Bank did not rank countries is because many countries were given the same HCI rankings - which can be imprecise. It explained that this is why an upper band and lower band is given alongside the HCI value to cater for the uncertainty.
For example, both T&T and St. Lucia were given 0.60 (although T&T was placed before on the table). However, while T&T lower and upper bands were 0.57 and 0.62, respectively, St. Lucia’s lower and upper bands amounted to 0.59 and 0.62, respectively.
This means that when accounting for uncertainty, T&T’s HCI could go as low as 0.57 while St. Lucia could go as low as 0.59 and both of the countries can be given a HCI value of 0.62.
However, the World Bank noted that countries should not be concerned with outranking another country.
The World Bank said: “Rankings place an inordinately large focus on the fact that a country with an HCI of 0.51 is ahead of a country with an HCI of 0.50.”
It aded: “But this interpretation misses the more critical issue, which is that in both countries, children born today will grow up with half their human capital potential unfulfilled. This is vastly more important than whether one country is “ahead of” another.”
Therefore, it can be said that with T&T receiving a 0.60 HCI value, that if a child is is born today in the country, he/she will not be able to maximise 0.40 (or 40 per cent) of their human capital potential.
Over the past decade, the World Bank indicated that many countries have made important progress in improving human capital. Today, however, it reported that the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse many of those gains.
According to the World Bank, urgent action is needed to protect hard-won advances in human capital, particularly among the poor vulnerable.
Designing the needed interventions, targeting them to achieve the highest effectiveness, and navigating difficult trade-offs in times of reduced fiscal space, makes investing in better measurement of human capital more important than ever.
Informed by rigorous measurement, the World Bank indicated that “bold policies can drive a resilient recovery from the pandemic and open a future in which rising generations will be able to develop their full potential and use it to tackle the vast challenges that still lie ahead for countries and the world: from ending poverty to preventing armed conflict to controlling climate change.”
The World Bank added that COVID-19 has underscored the shared vulnerability and common responsibility that today link all nations. It noted that fully realising the creative promise embodied in each child has never been more important.