18/10/2018 08:06 AST

The World Bank has announced its inaugural Human Capital Index, with Bahrain coming in the lead for the MENA region. Focusing on health and education, the Index measures how productive a child born today will be by the time they turn 18, where the Kingdom’s score increased by 6% since the research project started in 2012.

Bahrain’s performance was most notable in education, where it ranked first in the GCC region and around the world for the number of years a child spends at school, averaging 13.3 years per child by the time they reach the age of 18.

Equally, it was also in the first quartile for key health measures such as adult survival rates (the percentage of 15-year olds living until they are 60), and child survival rates (the percentage of children living until they are five).

Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), said: “The World Bank’s Human Capital Index is yet another testament of Bahrain’s high performance in key measures of economic and social sustainability. In the past few years, Bahrain witnessed major developments in the health and education sectors, where today the UNDP’s Human Development Index ranks Bahrain in the very high human development category, with our ranking improving 13.4% between 1990 and 2017.

“Bahrain recognizes that improving the skills, health and knowledge of the country’s population is crucial to the future development of our Kingdom, and it is particularly pleasing to see our efforts reflected in this index.”

Compared to its regional peers, Bahrain’s Human Capital Index is marginally higher for females than it is for males, specifically because of higher education attainment, while health outcomes for females and males are nearly identical.

The World Bank set up the Human Capital project to draw more attention to the fact that the improvement of human capital is crucial to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction. Investing in human capital is even more important as advances in science and technology changes the way we live and work.

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