Holding leaders to account on human development.

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The World Bank's new Human Capital Index reveals how much income countries lose due to human capital gaps. It should spur decision makers to invest more effectively in education and health.

Despite an insistence that trade, not aid, represents the future of African development, the instinct of many governments when faced with ambitious projects like the UN's Sustainable Development Goals--which target an end to poverty, hunger and poor education--is to tap donors for billions of dollars in extra funds.

Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, says that this reliance on donors poses a major problem--governments pay too much attention to the amount that donors are giving and too little to the outcome of the spending. Despite vast sums pouring into development, the impact on health, education and other vital metrics continues to disappoint, Kim argued at the Global Citizen Movement Makers event in New York.

"I decided we need to change the ball game, we need to not just continue to pressure donors to give more but we have to change the focus of responsibility and get heads of state, ministers of finance and real decision makers to fear not investing more effectively in health and education. I found that unless you actually rank people or their countries, often they don't pay attention. .. in the meantime the outcomes are terrible."

The speech foreshadowed the launch in October of the World Bank's Human Capital Index--a tool that ranks every country in the world by incorporating key indicators on education, child mortality and health. 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...

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