Nigeria ranks number 114 out of the 130 countries ranked in the Global Human Capital Index 2017. Ranking in the lower midfield of the region, Nigeria (114), Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest economy and most populous country, has a relatively large pool of tertiary educated workers, especially among its older generations, and comparatively strong staff training.
However, it simultaneously records low primary and secondary education attainment across all age groups and one of the lowest current primary school enrolment rates globally, pointing to excessively uneven human capital outcomes and the untapped opportunities of pursuing a more inclusive human capital development approach.
In total, the Index covers 29 countries from this Sub Saharan Africa, of which five are from the upper-middle income group, eight from the lower-middle income group and the remaining 16 from the low-income group. Despite this comparatively high regional diversity in income levels, the region exhibits a number of similar patterns across all age groups and aspects of its human capital potential profile.
The Global Human Capital Index 2017 ranks 130 countries on how well they are developing their human capital on a scale from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) across four thematic dimensions—capacity, deployment, development and know-how—and five distinct age groups or generations—0–14 years; 15–24 years; 25–54 years; 55–64 years; and 65 years and over—to capture the full human capital potential profile of a country. It can be used as a tool to assess progress within countries and points to opportunities for cross-country learning and exchange.
At a regional level, the human capital development gap is smallest in North America, followed by Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East and North Africa. The gap is largest in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Capacity subindex quantifies the existing stock of education across generations; the Deployment subindex covers skills application and accumulation of skills through work; the Development subindex reflects current efforts to educate, skill and upskill the student body and the working age population; and the Know-how subindex captures the breadth and depth of specialized skills use at work.
The top ten of this year’s edition of the Human Capital Index is headed by smaller European countries—Norway (1), Finland (2), Switzerland (3)—as well as large economies such as the United States (4) and Germany (6). Four countries from the East Asia and the Pacific region, three countries from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region and one country from the Middle East and North Africa region are also ranked in the Index top 20.
According to the report, Sub-Saharan Africa emerged the lowest-ranked region in the Index. Rwanda (71), Ghana (72), Cameroon (73) and Mauritius (74) have developed more than 60% of their human capital. South Africa (87), the region’s second largest economy, places towards the middle in the region. Nigeria (114) ranks in the lower midfield and Ethiopia (127) is the lowest performer, fourth from the bottom on the Index overall.
From North America, the United States (4) ranks in the top ten and Canada (14) ranks in the top 20. Three countries from the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region rank in the top 20: Slovenia (9) Estonia (12), and the Russian Federation (16).
In East Asia, the best-performing countries in the region, such as Singapore (11), Japan (17), and Korea, Rep. (27) are global strongholds of human capital success.
The gap between the best and worst performers in Latin America and the Caribbean is smaller than for any other region. The two best-performing countries in the region are Argentina (52) and Chile (53).
Only one country, Israel (18), from the Middle East and North Africa makes it into the top 20. Three gulf states—the United Arab Emirates (45), Bahrain (47) and Qatar (55)—outperform the rest of the region’s Arab-speaking countries and score in the mid-range of the Index overall.
From South Asia, Sri Lanka (70) is the top performer, while Nepal (98), India (103), Bangladesh (111) and Pakistan (125) lag behind. With the exception of Sri Lanka, the rest have yet to reach the 60% threshold with regard to developing their human capital.
There are significant opportunities for economies with already high talent capacity and development, such as France, Greece, Italy and United Arab Emirates, to boost their human capital performance through a focus on the Know-how subindex, including opportunities for high- and medium-skilled work as well as broadening the complexity of the economies in question through sectoral investment.
In North America, Western Europe, Middle East and North Africa and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, more can be done to improve the deployment of their countries’ high capacity talent. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia need much better investment in developing their current and future workforces in order to expand beyond their relatively low current capacity.