Nigeria ranks 171st in the world for its investments in education and health care as measurements of its commitment to economic growth, according to the first-ever scientific study ranking countries for their levels of human capital.
Nigeria placed just behind the Democratic Republic of the Congo (170th) and just ahead of Zambia (172nd). South Africa was ranked (144).
The study, titled “Measuring human capital: A systematic analysis of 195 countries and territories, 1990 to 2016,” was published in the international medical journal The Lancet.
“Nigeria’s ranking of 171st in 2016 represents a drop from its 1990 ranking of 155th. It comes from having five years of expected human capital, measured as the number of years a person can be expected to work in the years of peak productivity, taking into account life expectancy, functional health, years of schooling, and learning.
“Our findings show the association between investments in education and health and improved human capital and GDP – which policymakers ignore at their own peril,” said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
The study also focused on the number of productive years an individual in each country can be expected to work between the ages of 20 to 64, taking into account years of schooling, learning in school, and functional health.
At the top of the listing of 195 nations, Human capital—educational attainment, learning, functional health, and survival—in 2016 was highest in Finland (28 yrs), Iceland (27 yrs) Denmark (27 yrs) the Netherlands (27 yrs), and Taiwan (26 yrs)
And In Africa, Niger, South Sudan, and Chad all ranked lowest at human capital at 2 years, followed by Burkina Faso and Mali (each with 3 years).
Over the past 25 years, progress has also been slow in African countries with historically low human capital, such as the bottom five african countries above. At the macro level, countries that have improved the production of human capital tend to have been more successful in fostering economic growth.
The research calculation is based on systematic analysis of 2,522 surveys and censuses providing data on years of schooling; testing scores on language, math, and science; and health levels related to economic productivity.