Pakistan’s Human Capital Crisis Keeps Worsening


Every country’s biggest resource is its people and the only way a country can grow is to invest in its human capital. 77 years after independence, Pakistan’s investment in human capital is abysmal – we rank just above Afghanistan and below every other neighbor.

A recent report by the World Bank on Pakistan’s human capital crisis points out that “Seven percent of children die before their fifth birthday — that is multiple times higher than in comparable countries. Forty percent of children under five suffer from stunted growth — more than 50 percent in poorer districts.” This will require “providing wider access to clean water and sanitation, birth spacing services, and improved living and hygiene environments. It will take strong cross-sectoral and local coordination, a national mobilisation and behavioural change campaign, and investments of close to 1 percent of GDP every year.” Further, “A weak education system compounds the effects of stunting: 78 percent of 10-year-old children are unable to read an age-appropriate text, while over 20 million children are out of school.”

If Pakistan’s leaders – both civilian and military – really want our country to achieve its potential – and not remain a country dependent on the largesse of others – then they need to focus resources on social development instead of on military and defense.