On October 25, Georgia officially launched a Human Capital Program, with World Bank and AFD support, which aims to unlock the country’s growth potential through investments in health, education and social protection. This is the largest World Bank investment ever extended to Georgia during the three decades of partnership, and the Bank’s first cross-sectorial operation comprehensively targeting three critical areas of human development.
In order to support Georgia’s Human Capital Program, the World Bank invested $400 million, and Agence française de développement (AFD) contributed by co-financing amount of EUR 100 million. The official signing ceremony of the co-financing agreement took place at a launch event on Tuesday in Tbilisi.
“Along with the Government of Georgia, we are investing in the people of Georgia and in their future. And we believe that our joint efforts in strengthening Georgia’s human capital will be a significant boost to the country’s social and economic prosperity,” said Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus. “By helping to implement transformative reforms in education, health and social protection, the Human Capital Program will play a crucial role in accelerating Georgia’s long-term development trajectory and in strengthening its pathway towards becoming a member of the European Union.”
“This program is an opportunity for continuation of the long-standing cooperation between AFD and the Government of Georgia for social policies and health since 2016, and an opportunity for more ambition and more impact for the people of Georgia, especially women,” said Raphaël Jozan, Director of AFD Office for the South Caucasus. “It is a demonstration that climate smart action can be aligned with social policies, beneficial for the people and the State as well. Implementation will require continuous consulting with beneficiaries, CSOs, and joining forces with other development partners.”
The Human Capital Program aims to help improve the quality of life for all citizens of Georgia by enhancing efficiency, inclusion, and connectivity of human development services. This will be achieved by ensuring fair and equal access to high quality education, better targeted social benefits, and strong preventive healthcare with lower costs of treatment and medicine.
“The Government of Georgia deems human capital development among its most significant priorities, and acknowledges the need of investments towards this end,” said Lasha Khutsishvili. Minister of Finance of Georgia. “The World Bank has vast experience and tremendous potential in developing human capital. It is equally important to note that Agence française de développement (AFD) is willing to make its own contribution in the successful implementation of this milestone reform. We believe that our joint effort will lead to empowered human capital in the county that will facilitate further advancement and major productivity growth in Georgia.”
The Human Capital Program will enhance the skills and competencies of Georgia’s children and youth to better tackle increasingly complex problems facing modern society. From early childhood through secondary education to university and beyond, the Program will support the transformation of Georgia’s education system to improve overall learning outcomes, while creating greater equality and opportunities for the poorest and most vulnerable.
The Program will also expand access to improved health services by supporting telemedicine consultations and by strengthening pharmaceutical management to reduce medicine prices, which comprise a significant share of out-of-pocket spending in Georgia.
To improve the efficiency of the social protection system, the Human Capital Program will help to rapidly identify poor households with children and respond to their needs by expanding access to employment services across the country, including rural areas.
Showcasing Georgia’s commitment to the global climate change agenda, the Program envisages including modules on climate change and energy efficiency in environmental education, training teachers and holding workshops on climate resilient and energy efficient schools, as well as promoting access to skills training necessary for green jobs.
According to the World Bank’s Georgia Human Capital Review, boosting inclusion and quality human capital is critical for Georgia to address emerging productivity, aging, and inclusion challenges, and to steering the country towards sustainable and inclusive growth.