Azerbaijan needs to invest more and better in human capital to grow further

While Azerbaijan was one of the top global improvers on human capital in the past decade, it still lags behind countries of the same income level in human development outcomes, according to a new World Bank report. The report, Azerbaijan Human Capital Review –  prepared with support from the European Union, and presented today to representatives of the Azerbaijani Government, development partners, civil society and media – indicates that achieving high income status can only happen with a well-educated, healthy, and socially-protected population.

The objective of the Human Capital Review (HCR) is to support the Government of Azerbaijan’s implementation of its National Priorities 2030 and the Socio-Economic Development Strategy 2022-2026 by assessing the state of key human capital endowments and challenges in Azerbaijan, identifying priority human capital outcomes that can be strengthened, and offering country-specific policy options to improve these outcomes.

Creating a dynamic and inclusive society with competitive human capital is one of the national priorities of Azerbaijan in the new national strategy”, said Sarah Michael, World Bank Country Manager for Azerbaijan.I hope the report we presented today will provide useful data and evidence to support the formulation of relevant new policy actions.”          

According to the World Bank’s Human Capital Index (HCI), which measures expected productivity of the next generation of workers based on their education and health outcomes, Azerbaijani children who are born today, will reach only 58 percent of their potential productivity by age 18. Children and youth in Azerbaijan suffer from relatively poor health and weak learning achievements in relation to the country’s income level, setting them up on a lower productivity path. The new analysis comes to some stark conclusions: children starting education at age 4 have only 8.3 years of actual learning at 18, and children born today on average can expect to complete only 0.9 years of higher education. Meanwhile the probability of dying between 30-70 years from non-communicable diseases is very high at 22 percent.

There are many ways that Azerbaijan can improve the situation going forward”, said Fadia Saadah, World Bank Director for human development in Europe and Central Asia, “Ensuring equitable access to quality education, health, social protection, and employment services for the poorest and most vulnerable people would help set the country on track to ensure citizens and communities reach their full potential.”

The report was prepared by the World Bank with financing from the EU Neighborhood Instrument through an allocation from its Structural Reform Facility.