Pakistan – Human Capital Review: Building Capabilities Throughout Life

Pakistan can realize major economic growth and development by investing in its people and their human capital. But the reality is that Pakistan’s human capital is low and has improved only marginally over the past three decades. Inequalities in human capital outcomes have persisted or widened over time between the rich and poor, men and women, and rural and urban areas and among the provinces. Human capital outcomes are low across the board, with even the most economically advantaged groups in Pakistan having lower human capital outcomes than less economically advantaged groups in peer countries. Pakistan’s Human Capital Index (HCI) value of 0.41 is low in both absolute and relative terms. It is lower than the South Asia average of 0.48, with Bangladesh at 0.46 and Nepal at 0.49. Pakistan’s human capital outcomes are more comparable to those in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has an average HCI value of 0.40. To enhance its human capital, Pakistan should adopt a life cycle approach to building, protecting, and deploying human capital, starting before birth, continuing through early childhood development, and schooling, culminating in increasingly productive employment. This calls for a long-term commitment, recognition of the multidimensional and cumulative nature of human capital investments, deliberate efforts from multiple stakeholders and sectors to build on intersectoral linkages, and a continuity of policies across political parties and governments. Many countries previously at Pakistan’s level of development have managed to precisely do this, even with regional variations and gaps just as large. Pakistan has the tools to implement the recommendations in this report, provide stewardship for human capital investments, and enhance economic growth over the long term. Pakistan’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the country can manage complex challenges, despite its institutional constraints.
Link to Data Set
Ersado, Lire,; Hasan, Amer; Geven, Koen Martijn; Kathuria, Ashi Kohli; Baron, Juan; Bend, May; Ahmed, S. Amer. 2023. Pakistan – Human Capital Review: Building Capabilities Throughout Life. © Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
Report Series
Other publications in this report series
Journal Volume
Journal Issue
Associated URLs
Associated content