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Human Development

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African Human Development

Africa's urgent priority is to reduce poverty through strong and sustained economic growth that benefits the poor, and through improved social services. But no country has succeeded with levels of human development as low as those found in the majority of African countries today. Human development is one of the major challenges facing the region and human capital is a critical factor in the fight to reduce poverty and reach the Millennium Development Goals.

The World Bank helps build human capital in Africa through investments and analytical work in three main areas: education, health, and social protection.

Building Human Capital in Africa: PDF | PDF in French | Slideshow

Why should Africa invest in people now? Q&A

The Bank is supporting the development of quality education programs in most countries in Africa. Our assistance includes: focus on quality primary education for all (EFA) by 2015; improving secondary, tertiary, technical & vocational education and education for orphans; addressing teacher and textbook shortages, and the interaction between HIV/AIDS and education.

Meeting Africa's Changing Education Needs Through Education (Slideshow)


Support to Health Nutrition and Population (HNP) is targeted to the reduction of communicable diseases among the poor (HIV/AIDS, malaria, Onchocerciasis (Riverblindness), TB, children's diseases); improving nutrition; increasing attention to population and reproductive health; and improving health systems through staffing reforms, pharmaceutical policy, and sustainable and equitable financing. The Bank's assistance strategy is focused on creating an enabling environment for providing cost-effective interventions that are best implemented by the development partners.


The areas of priority for Social Protection support include: the development of social protection strategies; risk assessments; pension reform; and the implementation of safety nets for vulnerable groups. This work focuses on the protection of the elderly and poor; assisting orphans and the disabled; income support to households hurt by economic shocks; and prevention of critical shortfalls in consumption for poor households. The Social Protection strategy targets assistance to individuals, especially vulnerable children and youth, while scaling-up support to poor households and communities to manage income risks better.



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