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Almost half the population is below 25 years old. –Photo WFP Vilakhone Sipaseut

First Lao Human Capital Summit to be held in Vientiane

The first Lao Human Capital Summit will be held in Vientiane on May 25 to discuss ways the country can boost its opportunities by investing in its people early, as well as investing efficiently and for all.
The summit will be hosted by the Lao government with support from the World Bank and UNICEF, according to a World Bank statement.
The summit will bring together central and provincial government leaders under the guidance of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Planning and Investment, education experts, development partners, civil society, and the private sector to reassess how Laos can accelerate learning and allocate enough resources to bring its schools and learning outcomes up to the standard needed to build a strong economy.
“A healthy, educated and productive population is essential to the growth of all countries. The Lao PDR has one of the youngest populations in Asia, with almost half the population below 25 years old, but to take advantage of this ‘demographic transition’ it needs to invest in its people,” the World Bank stated.
“Human capital is the knowledge, skills and health that people accumulate throughout their lives, enabling them to reach their potential as productive members of society.”
The Lao Human Capital Agenda champions human capital as a growth strategy for the country. A child born in Laos today will be only 46 percent as productive when he or she grows up, as he or she could be if they enjoyed complete education and full health. This is lower than the averages for the East Asia and Pacific regions, and for lower-middle-income countries, according to the World Bank.
Human capital - the knowledge, skills and health needed for boosting productivity - is the most important form of capital for the economic growth and development of the country. World Bank reports show that about 62 percent of the total capital wealth of Laos comprises human capital, with natural capital accounting for 28 percent, and produced capital just 18 percent.
To build this human capital to its full potential a society must build early, investing in the formative years of life for every citizen. By providing basic healthcare, adequate nutrition, clean water and sanitation, and access to quality education, a country can offer all its people the chance to develop to their highest capacity. This is the most efficient way to make sustained and equitable progress.
However, investment in developing this human capital, especially in education, is currently insufficient and dwindling.
The first Human Capital Summit will involve dedicated leaders to step forward and help drive a recovery in learning across Laos. The Covid-19 pandemic hit education hard. A critical challenge facing the country now is how to help children and students catch up with their learning at a time when the economy is struggling.

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update May 24, 2023)


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