Human Capital Investment, a Priority Emphasized by COVID19

The world is living its biggest crisis of the century.  The Coronavirus outbreak has forced governments to take decisions that would be considered  human rights violation in other situations. One of the major facts, it’s that coronavirus “is forcing humankind to innovate and change the way we work and live”. 

Some of the facts from Coronavirus are: more than 3.9 billion humans are lockdown , Organizations of all kinds and size are using distance work tools more than ever before. Online meetings, Concerts, Virtual parties have exploded. School closures are affecting  91%  students around the World  ; Universities are moving all their classes remotely. 

These dispositions have raised new challenges as domestic gender-based violence have increased during coronavirus confinement.  

Most importantly is to notice that the decisions that are taken may remain and/or be reinforced even after the Covid-19. 

That’s why many specialists are predicting potential  post-coronavirus changes in the Workplace  and society as a whole, some of them are : 

1) More Contactless Interfaces and Interactions

2) Strengthened Digital Infrastructure 

3) Telemedicine

4) Increased Reliance on Robots 

5) Digitization of financial services 

These fast-growing changes will particularly influence people in the informal sector who are more affected and less  able to respect social distancing and #Stayhome instructions. According to the World Bank 2019 World Development report ,  these new working patterns are risking for more than 2 billion people in the informal sector  ,because Informal employment __ remains at more than 70 , 60 and 50 percent respectively in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America _ It_requires low-skills and not many informal enterprises adopt  new technologies. In India, the informal sector has remained at around 90 percent, notwithstanding fast economic growth and technology adoption . Although the fear of losing one’s job is not limited to this category of workers. A question one can ask is:

What governments can do to prepare their citizens for the new global changes? 

We do believe , two strategies need to be adopted.

Firstly, Human Capital Investment : Human capital consists of the knowledge, skills, and health that people accumulate over their lives, enabling them to realize their potential as productive members of society.

Human capital  acquisition requires many infrastructures to enable access to education since  early childhood to retreat , both physically and quality.  

Adults at risk to lose their jobs  will need to learn new skills. Nowadays, the fastest way to learn is on the internet, yet in developing countries , people have poor  internet connection or no access at all. 

An important aspect of human capital is health, because if you invest in a person with low  life expectancy or at risk to catch illnesses such as infections, these can be a big challenge for productivity and investment benefits nationwide. 

Scientists say three types of skills are increasingly important in labor markets: advanced cognitive skills such as complex problem-solving, socio-behavioral skills such as teamwork, and skill combinations that are predictive of adaptability such as reasoning and self-efficacy. Building these skills requires strong human capital foundations and lifelong learning.

Investing in human capital is not just a concern for ministers of health and education; it should also be a top priority for heads of state and ministers of finance.

Secondly; Foster Innovation, the best way to create new opportunities for workers displaced by Marketplace changes (such as automation) is innovation.  Innovation will determine whether new sectors or tasks emerge to counterbalance the decline of old sectors and routine jobs.

They are several ways for governments to foster innovation, some of them are:

1) Invest more in tertiary education—especially universities— which can serve as a platform for innovation.

2) Change outdated regulations 

3) Partner with the private sector , like Hult Prize to discover , and expedite  bold , innovative ideas from youth that can help tackle most pressing challenges. 

The Coronavirus outbreak is forcing us to take fast decisive actions and show human protection should be the priority of both governments and Society. We now know, we should be prepared for uncertainty, impermissibility and the best way is to invest in humans first. Although most analysts have underlined that best response examples are due to women leadership, we have noticed that all the countries in this category ( Germany, Taiwan, New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark ) are among countries with the highest human capital score.  We’re not saying human capital is the only cause of low coronavirus spread in these countries, last news tell us that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa get low spread of the coronavirus , then many causes can explain the Virus spread or not .Many countries with high Human capital score hit hard , since every countries it’s different ,was living a particular political moments during first phase of the outbreak , leaders have understood dangers from the disease differently  and so on. However , we are convinced , Governments need to prioritize human protections , invest in adaptability to uncertainty, in Human Capital. 

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