World Bank: Investing in people ‘vital’ for nations’ economic development

World Bank’s President Jim Yong Kim said Monday the need to invest in human capital is lagging across the globe and therefore hindering the economic development of various countries.

Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, are currently attending the “Importance for Governments in Investing in Human Capital” session by Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank.

Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, Kim discussed the need for countries to invest in education and awareness around the fact that jobs of the future will be very different to those of today.

In the Middle East alone, the World Bank official said that around 150 million people will leave the workforce by 2050, but an additional 450 million will join.

“That means there is a gap of 300 million jobs that needs to be created between now and then,” Kim said.

“In Singapore you finish secondary school and have the equivalent of five more years than students in Malawi and Ghana,” says Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank.

“Oman spent on educational spending and they saw a huge difference in educational outcome.”

Vietnam is an important example – over 18 per cent of their budget to education and GDP per capital put them in lower to middle income but in the PISA (Programme from international Student assessment) test they scored the same as Germany.

He went on to highlight how experts predict that between 2022 and 2025, broadband will have a global reach, and touch the lives of all 8 billion people living on Earth.

“While we know this will make people very happy as they will finally be connected to a wider community, it will also impact their reference income, meaning the income to which they compare their own is no longer compared to their neighbours, but instead is compared to the rest of the world,” he explained.

This will, in turn, impact the aspiration levels of those living in low-income countries. Looking back on his own childhood in South Korea in the late fifties, which he regards as “one of the poorest countries in the world,” he reminisced on how literacy levels were poor, but poverty levels were high.

“But these days, what many people find the hardest to swallow is that as aspirations rise in these poor countries, jobs are disappearing, and this is why I believe it is so important that we prepare younger generations for the jobs of the future,” he said.

He touched on how in Rwanda is trying to take technology and enable it to play a vital role in everyday life. “AI-powered drones, which require a 4G LTE network to operate on, are now being used to deliver blood across the country, meaning it can be made available to almost every clinic,” he said.

What this has meant though, however, is that the “muscle-powered” jobs of delivering such services are disappearing.

“McKinsey says that over 45 percent of jobs that exist today could be removed by automation, and while examples such as this drone delivery service are fantastic use cases for technology in low income countries, this is why it is so important to educate the youth and create awareness of how jobs in the future may be curated,” he said.

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