ECOWAS, partners discuss regional human capital development

 Officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and global develop­ment partners have converged on Accra, to deliberate on how to accelerate human capital develop­ment (HCD) across the region.

HCD refers to the process of enhancing and improving the skills, knowledge, abilities, and overall potential of individuals as productive members of society, country or organisation.

Top on the agenda of the three-day HCD technical con­ference, opened yesterday, is a review of the progress made so far in developing and implement­ing ECOWAS’s HCD strategy that was approved by the regional leaders in 2021.

The HCD strategy seeks to make ECOWAS, sub-Saharan Africa’s top HCD performer by 2030, focusing on health, edu­cation, skills, entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, and the digital economy.

The Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Damtien Tchintchibidja, said the region’s vision was to harness the poten­tial of its large and growing youth population by placing people at the centre of development efforts.

She said significant progress had been made in supporting member states to develop na­tional HCD strategies, with some countries having completed theirs while others were in the process.

She said despite challenges like instability, insecurity, and cli­mate change, ECOWAS remains determined to intensify efforts on HCD implementation through increased resource allocation, regional coordination, and multi-stakeholder collaboration.

This, she said was because the successful HCD was expected to drive regional growth, stability, socioeconomic inclusion, and accelerate progress on national development goals across the ECOWAS community.

The World Bank Country Di­rector, Robert O’Brien, highlight­ed the immense potential of West Africa’s rapidly growing youth population, which is projected to become larger than the workforc­es of China and India by 2040.

However, he said that harness­ing this demographic dividend required significant investments in human capital development, as countries in the region face challenges like low educational quality, malnutrition, and gaps in healthcare access and outcomes.

A representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Charlotte Lejeune, stated the Foundation’s commitment to help the region to address challenges with HCD.


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