Seychelles sits atop the region and the African continent for developing human capital, a new World Bank report found. The 115-island archipelago in the western Indian Ocean ranks 43rd out of 157 countries assessed under The Human Capital Project.
Development of a country's human capital is measured based on five indicators - the probability of survival to age five, a child's expected years of schooling, test scores, adult survival rate, and the stunting rate among children. The report released during the World Bank Group meeting held in Bali, Indonesia on October 11.
As per the introduction of the report, "the index measures the human capital of the next generation, defined as the amount of human capital that a child born today can expect to achieve in view of the risks of poor health and poor education currently prevailing in the country where that child lives."
"Our score of 68 percent means that for the four babies born yesterday at the Victoria Hospital, they each have a 68 percent chance of reaching their full potential as an adult," said President Danny Faure.
He made the statement at State House, Victoria on Friday, when debriefing the Cabinet of Ministers, high officials and the press about Seychelles' position in the report.
"Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that our score is higher than was expected given our income level. We are outperforming countries that have similar income levels. This highlights the fact that we have not made this much progress by chance," said Faure.
Faure attributes the progress to the government's loyalty "to the principle of free education, free healthcare and our social safety nets." Health and education are two components of the index that reflect on a worker's productivity.
Health and education are the two sectors that receive the most funding from the government. The President said that the country is making constant progress and that should the index have existed five years ago, Seychelles would have scored 59 percent.
"In the past five years, we have made significant progress to get us to 68 percent. In fact, the World Bank has confirmed that Seychelles is the country that has made the most progress in the last five years," he said.
The country topping the index is Singapore with a Human Capital Index of 88 percent. In second and third place are Korea and Japan respectively. Last on the index is Chad from central Africa.