The human capital deficit in certain countries will condition their development in this 21st century. With this assertion, Keith Hansen, senior advisor for the World Bank, introduced himself at ISGlobal’s offices in Madrid on October 4. He claimed that investing in human capital has a double justification: on one hand, the intrinsic right to health and well-being; on the other hand, the return of investment in health on the countries’ economic growth and development.
Hansen travelled to Madrid to meet with several civil society organisations and present the Global Financing Facility (GFF), launched in 2015 by the World Bank and the Governments of Canada, USA and Norway to help end preventable deaths among mothers, children and adolescents, and thereby achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030.
The GFF is a mechanism for financing maternal, child, reproductive and adolescent health, whose main goal is not simply donating but working together with recipient countries to significantly increase their domestic resources in key areas related to human capital. It advocates for making health a priority in national systems and budgets.
Lack of investment in health systems is one of the reasons why so many countries are still far from achieving the SDG by 2030. This is why the GFF is working on a Human Capital Index that seeks to reveal national shortcomings, explained Hansen, and underlines the need to invest in three types of capital: economic, environmental and human, the latter accounting for up to 70% of a country’s total wealth.
But, as past experience has proved, foreign aid is not sufficient for achieving health goals, and mobilising domestic resources is key. The GFF supports governments in setting priorities, making high-impact investments (eg. family planning) and eliminating health system obstacles. In addition, it supports efforts by the Ministries of Health and Finance to obtain better results from existing resources and increase the total financing on the long run.
To increase the efficiency of investment, the GFF has created a Trust Fund that acts as catalyst for development financing by the public (government and international organisations) and private sector (companies, banks, CSO). Current donors of this Trust Fund include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the governments of Canada, Denmark, Japan, Norway and UK, and MSD for Mothers.