Investing in human capital

One of the major indicators of development is the level of human capital formation.

Put differently and perhaps more academically, human capital is the stock of competencies, knowledge, social and personality attributes, including creativity embodied in the ability to perform labour so as to produce economic value.

This exercise is not limited to the mainstay education system alone, but actually goes to the extent as assisting nationals acquire skill and expertise to enable them raise their productive capacity.

It is true that most developing countries, Zambia included, have very low productivity because the country has not invested in programmes and activities that are directly concerned with raising the levels of individual contribution to the national wealth.

In our specific situation, the Government is prepared to borrow and invest in economic  infrastructure such as roads, transport investment, bridges and similar edifices of development, but with very little invested in the development of human capital, either through elevating educational standards or indeed investing directly in the productive capacity of individuals.

A few weeks ago Lunte Member of Parliament Felix Mutati lamented the fact that very little if any money from the Euro bond assigned to the Development Bank of Zambia was specifically designated for Zambian entrepreneurs.

This failure, he said, was a major failure in inculcating, developing and enhancing productive capacities of Zambian citizens who had the potential and therefore ability to engage in positive business that would add to national productivity.

More recently Professor Lungwangwa and Mr. Hamududu- both MPs have emphasized on the need to invest more in education if the country was to attain any meaningful development akin to the Asian tigers.

It may indeed be a mark of development to build tarred roads around the country, but for as long as these are a political and social investment, little will be attained by way of increasing the economic potential of the citizens.

It is very important therefore that Government strikes a balance between the politically demonstrative projects and the more intellectual and skill imparting programme that will add directly to the ability of Zambians to contribute to the growth of the country meaningfully.

As the situation stands, Zambia has an army of millions of literate youngsters who are either simply un-employed or are under employed because nothing has been done to build on their initial academic attainment.It is a self serving fact that every Zambian regardless of status in life has the potential of enhancing capacity to increase productivity given an opportunity. It is these opportunities that Government must exploit in the pursuit of human capital formation.Human capital is the richest resource and wealth any country can develop and use to develop as the Asian tigers have proved.