Celebrating the heart of every country

Celebrating the heart of every country

Putting people first

The Africa Human Capital Plan
Year 3 Progress Report
August 2022


Invest in people Empower lives

African HCP

In April 2019, we launched the Africa Human Capital Plan (HCP) centered on a set of gamechangers and ambitious targets to be achieved by 2023 on child mortality and stunting rates, girls and boys learning outcomes, social protection coverage, lower adolescent fertility rates, better sanitation practices and an improved Human Capital Index score.

Assumptions made three years ago have been validated, as the Africa HCP provides a strong framework to address emergency response and inclusive recovery efforts as we take on COVID-19, climate change, and other compounding crises that threaten to erode the human capital of an entire generation.

African HCP

We continue to galvanize resources and foster multisectoral collaboration to strengthen social service delivery systems, empower women and girls, and embrace digital and climate-smart solutions. In just three years, the World Bank’s commitments in human development operations in Africa has reached an historic $34 billion.

Our mission has never been more urgent, and we are focused on prioritizing investments in key social sector determinants to improve human capital outcomes and economic growth in Africa. Because every African man, woman, and child should be equipped to realize their full human capital potential as productive members of their communities.

Results framework

7 Gamechangers to Advance Human Capital Development

Accelerating the demographic transition by empowering women and girls

Increasing World Bank financing for human capital in Africa

Preventing and reversing damage to human capital in settings affected by fragility, conflict, and violence

Rallying World Bank country teams and partners around the human capital agenda to enable comprehensive cross-sectoral solutions at scale

Leveraging technology and innovations in projects to further human capital

Supporting policy reforms to overcome legal and regulatory constraints

Advancing research and advocacy to strengthen the knowledge base and the demand side of human capital

Africa HCP
Goals by 2023

Reduce Child Mortality

to save 4 million lives

Avert Stunting

among 11 million children

Reduce Adolescent Fertility

rates from 101 to 83 per 1,000 teens

Improve Sanitation Practices

to reduce open defecation from 23% to 15%

Increase Learning Outcomes

for girls and boys in school by 20%


to 13 million more people


of children born today by at least 13%


in Africa to $15 billion

Vp reflection

Mamta Murthi,

Vice President, Human Development,
The World Bank

The past two years have made one thing clear: development is not only a question of economic growth, it is also a question of supporting people to fulfil their full potential, what we call protecting and investing in people. Advancing human potential, the skills, knowledge and health of people is now front and center of the development agenda.
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As we continue to focus on the huge set-back to human capital from COVID-19, which has caused disruptions at all the different stages of the life cycle, from children’s early years losses from being out of school and out of work, to many deaths among the elderly, especially men, the pandemic also made stark the need to focus on equality and resilience going forward.

Only with greater equality in access to services and greater resilience in systems, whether for education or health care or social protection, will we be able to ensure that the next shock or next pandemic does not cause the same disruption. As challenges accumulate — from conflict to climate change to inflation to increasing racial and social inequalities, we need to continue to look for solutions that secure human development. Using our tools and know-how to support all people, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable, throughout their life cycle, is what makes our contribution more important than ever before.

Victoria Kwakwa

World Bank Regional VP
Eastern and Southern Africa

Women are a force for economic growth and job creation in Africa. Advancing gender equality is smart economics, sound business practice, and an essential development policy.
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When women and men have equal opportunities to shape their own lives and contribute to their families, communities, and the economy, countries experience enhanced productivity and improved development outcomes, while businesses and institutions perform better.

Since the Africa Human Capital Plan began, we have committed over $11.5 billion to new projects that promote gender equality at home, school, and work. We are investing in women and girl’s health, education, and economic empowerment, as well as a first generation of projects that supports human capital policy reform. This work is all the more critical in the face of COVID-19, which has disproportionately impacted the schooling, employment, and domestic lives of women and girls.

In parallel, the world is facing a climate crisis. Women are increasingly being recognized as more vulnerable to the effects of climate change as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on natural resources.

As part of the Africa Human Capital Plan, we are focused on ensuring safe and equitable access to social services and opportunities for girls and women and eliminating harmful social norms through policy reforms and community engagement. We have an opportunity now — and we are seizing it — to fix systems, practices, and funding to build a more inclusive, resilient recovery.

Ousmane Diagana

World Bank Regional VP
Western and Central Africa

The young people of Africa need prospects and hope to build their future at home.
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The rise of the knowledge economy, rapid developments in technology, and the growing impact of climate change, all necessitate a quality education for our citizens. An education that reflects the changing global landscape is our best tool to meet the aspirations of our young people and their parents.

The Africa of tomorrow is built in our schools today. Progress has been made, but millions of children in Sub-Saharan Africa still remain out of school or cannot read and comprehend a simple text by the time they reach the age of 11. Our countries are facing learning crises that are exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

Through the Africa Human Capital Project, we are helping countries turn commitments to education into action. We actively support the improvements in the quality of education accessible by our youth and make it more accessible at all levels. We emphasize inclusiveness to ensure that girls in rural or fragile areas are not left behind. While we teach our children to be resilient, their education systems must be as well. A good education can turn a child into a lifelong learner, reaping benefits for themselves and their communities well beyond the classroom. We are making smart and effective investments in people’s education to develop the human capital that will end extreme poverty and deliver on the promise of shared prosperity in Africa.


Investing and preserving
Africa’s human capital

The Africa HCP has set clear targets and commitments by 2023 to boost and accelerate scaled up financing for human capital, expand support across development sectors, and leverage policy and results-based human capital reforms. The components of the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI) – survival, schooling, and health – all have direct links to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and measure how well countries invest in their next generation of workers. While efforts of investing and preserving Africa’s human capital have been impacted and threatened by recent multiple overlapping global crises – including the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine-Russia conflict, climate change-induced natural disasters, and regional armed conflicts – slow and uneven progress has been made towards achieving these target goals.

Progress on AFR HCP 2023 Goals

Reduce Child Mortality Under-5 mortality rate (per 1,000 live births)

to save 4 million lives

*Source: World Bank Open Data

Avert Stunting

among 11 million children

*Source: WHO The Global Health Observatory

Increase adult survival

through improved prevention and stronger health systems

Increase learning-adjusted years of school

for girls and boys in school by 20%

*Source: World Bank HCI 2020

Increase social protection coverage

for 13.1 million people

Reduce the adolescent fertility rate

births per 1,000 women age 15 to 19 years

*Source: World Bank Open Data

Improve Sanitation Practices

to reduce open defecation from 23% to 15%

*Source: World Bank Open Data

Increase future productivity by 13%

by improving on the Human Capital Index score

*Source: World Bank HCI 2020

Scaling-up financing for
human capital in Africa


The human development portfolio in Africa supports health, education, and social protection, and jobs


New investments championing women and girls in Africa since the launch of the AFR HCP


World Bank Human Development financing in Africa in FY22 and 1/3 of the World Bank’s total Africa Region portfolio

9 out of 10

World Bank development policy operations in Africa in FY22 supporting reforms that bolster human capital

Continuing to exceed the Africa HCP annual investment goal

For the last three years, the Africa HCP has exceeded its annual investment goal of $5 billion. FY22 represents the 2nd highest for the Africa human development group.

AFR HD FY22 estimated investments

Africa human development investments

Investments are being implemented across key social sectors.

World Bank FY22 lending on human development

Africa human development investments

Over 40% of the World Bank’s total human development portfolio is focused on Africa.


Putting human capital
on the map

The Africa HCP is a catalyst for a wide range of projects, analytical work, cross-sector collaboration, knowledge-sharing and innovations across Sub-Saharan Africa.


26 countries

have an explicit human capital or human development pillar in their Country Partnership Framework with the World Bank.


Adaptive Social Protection:
Building resilience to shocks

Social protection programs are a proven way to get people out of poverty, improve their education and health, and support them in times of shock and crisis. The 2022 Africa Pulse reports that Sub-Saharan Africa has seen a remarkable expansion in access to social safety net programs over the past two decades with, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 45 countries in the region having introduced social safety net programs to tackle chronic poverty.

Zambia: Giving a hand up not handout

African HCP

Social protection programs are a proven way to get people out of poverty, improve their education and health, and support them in times of shock and crisis. In Zambia, families are benefitting from cash transfers and programs that support women’s livelihoods and keep girls in school — all supported by the World Bank’s Girls’ Education and Women’s Empowerment and Livelihoods (GEWEL) Project.

GEWEL is providing a hand-up out of poverty for hundreds of thousands of people. Cash transfers have helped families feed and educate their children. Primary school attendance is up by 10%. Families have increased the land they farm by 18%, maize production by 8%, and their livestock by 21%. Support is enabling men and women to start small businesses and keep their children in school for longer.

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African HCP
I never thought I could run my own business. But because of 3 weeks training in life and business skills, and belonging to Titukuke Savings Group, I’ve been able to buy cement to build a house and grocery shop.
Stella Zulu
Supporting Women’s Livelihoods (SWL) beneficiary, Chisoni Village, Nyimba District
African HCP
KGS helped me to complete high school…Girls should work extra hard so that they too can find themselves in university. It is important so that they are able to have a better future.
Rose Tembo
North End University student and former Keeping Girls in School (KGS) beneficiary



More than 973,000 families received cash transfer in 2021 — 25% of Zambia’s population, with plans to reach 30% in 2022



More than 59,000 girls in 39 districts have received support to cover the cost of their secondary school education



75,000 women have received livelihood support, including savings groups, life and business skills training, and productive grants

COVID-19 vaccines: A path for recovering human capital

African HCP

The World Bank, in an Africa-led effort in partnership with COVAX and the African Union’s Africa Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), is helping to accelerate the procurement of vaccine doses for millions. In FY22, our regional country programs deployed $2.7 billion supporting 34 COVID-19 vaccination projects in Africa, focused on vaccine procurement and accelerated roll out, enabling affordable and equitable access to vaccines needed to reverse the pandemic’s health, social, and economic impact.

The African Union has set a target to vaccinate 60 percent of the continent’s population by 2022. Vaccines remain one of our most important tools for countries to get on the path to recovery, strengthen their health systems, and improve disease outbreak prevention and preparedness infrastructures and programs.


257.6 million

As of July 2022, 257.6 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Sub-Saharan Africa


200.4 million

As of July 2022, 200.4 million people have been fully vaccinated in Sub-Saharan Africa



In FY22, World bank regional country programs deployed $2.7 billion supporting 34 vaccination projects in Africa

Cabo Verde: Fighting the pandemic

African HCP

Tourism is a lifeline for Cabo Verde, generating 25% of its GDP and 23% of formal jobs. When COVID-19 hit, Cabo Verde closed its borders to prevent the virus from spreading. The move took a toll on people’s lives and livelihoods. Tourism suddenly stopped and many Cabo Verdeans lost their job.

News about a vaccine gave hope for the summer season of 2021, but getting vaccines to more than 400,000 people spread across 10 islands was no small endeavor. Thanks to a strong health system and a sound supply strategy, Cabo Verde has become a model for COVID-19 response. It has much to teach its neighbors on how to carry out vaccination campaigns.

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African HCP
As a health worker, you have to show ‘humanism,’ listen to people, respect them as human beings, and be sensitive to their point of view. You need to enter into their world to convince them and explain that vaccination saves lives.
Alice Bentoub
Nurse Alice Bentoub, dedicated to the health of her community, and first person to get the COVID-19 vaccination on the island



Over 70% of Cabo Verde’s adult population is vaccinated, the third highest coverage against COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa



27% jump in vaccination coverage occurred with the launch of a digital health pass, making it mandatory to show proof of vaccination to access venues



$15 million from IDA has helped Cabo Verde purchase and deploy vaccines for at least 400,000 people

São Tomé and Príncipe:
Solar-powered cold chain key to
achieving last mile vaccination

African HCP

São Tomé and Príncipe (STP), a two-island nation, is a hidden gem that glistens and floats off the coast of West Africa. A Portuguese-speaking archipelago with a population of 220,000 individuals, of which 96% live on the island of São Tomé and the other 4% on the island of Principe, STP is a small and insular state that faces challenges accessing a range of resources, particularly medical resources. This has had a direct impact on the health sector, as limited inputs affect the quality of health services available to its population. This is further compounded by sparse human resources on the island, let alone those with specialized skills.

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The Sahel:
Sustainable solutions for
people, climate, and infrastructure

African HCP

The Sahel region is highly affected by climate change and fragility, which undermine food security, long-term development prospects, and opportunities for the next generation. Adaptive social protection helps build the resilience of poor and vulnerable households, by investing in their capacity to prepare for, cope with, and adapt to shocks — ensuring that they do not fall deeper into poverty.

Experience the impact of projects for people, climate, and infrastructure on A Virtual Journey into the Sahel Visit Niger to learn how health care workers and community members are coming together to improve medical services for women and their children in rural areas. Go to Chad to see how better rural roadways are leading to greater agricultural productivity and food security. Visit Burkina Faso to learn how local communities are protecting and expanding forests to improve their land and livelihoods.

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African HCP
I used to give birth at home. In case of a problem, I had no assistance. Since the project was set up, I have been giving birth at the clinic because I know that in case of a problem, I will be taken care of.
Alimatou Idrissa
Mother and beneficiary of initiatives to boost prenatal consultations and assisted deliveries in Niger
African HCP
We are making a living installing solar panels. Ever since I learned how to do a paid job, I’ve wanted my sisters to follow my example. If they learn skills, they will be able to work and earn money too.
Aouia Brema
Mother and electrician who reinvented herself through professional training and the launch of a women-owned business in her hometown in Chad
African HCP
It is important for future generations to protect the environment because we depend on it. If it disappears, we will also disappear.
Halisa Hassa
Farmer who is helping his community in Niger adopt climate-smart agricultural practices to restore degraded lands and boost yields

Empowering the next generation of Africa’s scientists

African HCP

Increased productivity, economic diversification, and structural reforms across Africa require more highly skilled and employable graduates, particularly in key fields related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as health and agriculture. The Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence (ACE) Project is helping universities in 11 countries improve the quality, quantity, and development impact of postgraduate education.

The ACE for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID) at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria is using its project funds, knowledge base, and collaboration with internal and external researchers to counter immediate health threats like COVID-19 and to detect and respond to future outbreaks. ACEGID is working to train a critical mass of scientists capable of using genomics-based tools to monitor, control, and eliminate infectious diseases.

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We can’t always wait for the westernized countries to come in and solve our problems for us. We are not deficient when it comes to manpower or intelligence. Why not utilize what we have to solve our own problems?
Grace Sename Peter
pursued a Master of Science (MSc) in Molecular Biology and Genomics at ACEGID

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My experience at ACEGID helped me to understand standard laboratory procedures and safety protocols better. They were the first things that I applied when I returned to Liberia, and I shared with my team here. These have helped us a lot as we work on COVID-19 samples.
Lawrence S. Fakoli III
Master of Science Student, ACEGID and Research Associate, Division of Public Health and Medical Research, National Public Health Institute of Liberia

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Over 500 local and regional postgraduate and short-term students, 33% women, supported at ACEGID since 2014


Over 480 students, health care professionals, and faculty members trained through ACEGID short-term courses


Over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles published by ACEGID’s academic staff, including in the prestigious international journal Nature


Knowledge exchange
and activities

African HCP

This year, the Africa HCP has maintained and strengthened its commitment in advancing knowledge products that help countries and development stakeholders to prioritize resource use and execute evidenced-based solutions for sustainable human development outcomes. Our knowledge and learning products – which span countries, regions, and sectors – include our advisory services and analytics (ASA) products which offer technical assistance, through research and analysis, for stronger development objectives and strategies; data to monitor progress toward development goals as well as help inform evidence-based policy making and reforms; and knowledge sharing and exchange platforms for disseminating lessons learned and best practices on the global development agenda.

Working together with governments, partners, and stakeholders, our community of practice serves as a viable platform for shared goals for protecting and preserving Africa’s human capital.

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Greater resilience
and better data

As this first phase of Africa HCP enters its final year of implementation and we plan for the next phase, we are using lessons learned before and during the COVID-19 pandemic to make pragmatic adjustments that are more attuned to evolving realities on the ground. Climate change, political instability, food insecurity, and other shocks and crises threaten human capital gains. Work is underway to enable larger scale solutions and more tailored upstream solutions built on four key components:

Strong support
from IDA

IDA20 , the 20th replenishment of the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, positions us well for the next stepped-up phase of the Africa HCP. IDA20’s financing envelope of $93 billion comes with a special theme on Human Capital and Gender and related World Bank policy commitments, with more focus on country-level actions to respond to the pandemic and build back better and greener. The Africa region plays a crucial role in delivering on IDA20 results.

Increased preparedness

COVID-19 has been a wake-up call that human capital is vulnerable to shocks and that systems to build and protect human capital are often ill-prepared to deal with crises. An increased effort is needed to make systems and people more resilient to shocks, including pandemics, food shortages, conflicts, and climate change. We are ramping up support for expanded social safety nets and strengthening systems in the health, education, and social protection sectors.

Catalytic catch-up investments

To recover human capital losses exacted by the COVID-19 crisis, high-impact, cost-efficient catch-up investments are needed. With public resources constrained, it is imperative to support stronger public finance management for human capital to maximize available funds and improve how these resources are spent. We can also achieve change at scale by taking full advantage of technology innovations to reach larger numbers of people at reduced cost.

Improved human capital data collection

To better measure the full impact of the COVID-19 crisis and build back better, we must improve and strengthen the quality, timeliness, and relevance of national data collection systems. We must build on successful programs like Service Delivery Indicators (SDI) surveys , which collect data in schools, clinics, and hospitals to provide the crucial evidence needed to improve the quality and accessibility of education and health services.