Sin­ga­pore tops World Bank’s new hu­man cap­i­tal global in­dex

The New Paper - - NEWS -

NUSA DUA, BALI Sin­ga­pore got its top health­care and ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems be­cause its lead­ers took the nec­es­sary steps to de­velop them, not be­cause it was filled with crazy rich Asians.

World Bank pres­i­dent Jim Yong Kim made the com­ment at the Hu­man Cap­i­tal Sum­mit yes­ter­day, ref­er­enc­ing the pop­u­lar novel and movie set in the Repub­lic to make a point about how world lead­ers have to in­vest more in health­care and ed­u­ca­tion in their coun­tries.

Mr Kim was speak­ing at a di­a­logue with Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong, who shared the early steps the Gov­ern­ment took af­ter in­de­pen­dence to lay the foun­da­tion for its health­care and ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems.

A new in­dex, which mea­sures how ef­fec­tively so­ci­eties de­vote re­sources to de­velop their peo­ple, shows Sin­ga­pore top­ping the list.

The Hu­man Cap­i­tal In­dex (HCI), launched by the World Bank at its an­nual meet­ings in Bali yes­ter­day, saw three East Asian economies far­ing well, with South Korea, Ja­pan and Hong Kong ranked sec­ond, third and fourth out of 157 economies re­spec­tively.

“The most re­mark­able thing about Sin­ga­pore is this was not a coun­try full of crazy rich Asians 50 years ago.”

– World Bank pres­i­dent Jim Yong Kim

IN­NO­VA­TIONS

The re­port also noted that Sin­ga­pore’s HCI mea­sure is higher for girls than for boys.

“The most re­mark­able thing about Sin­ga­pore is this was not a coun­try full of crazy rich Asians 50 years ago,” Mr Kim said, to laugh­ter from the au­di­ence.

“This was a coun­try that went from hav­ing low lit­er­acy rates and de­vel­op­ing coun­try kind of mor­tal­ity num­bers to where it is now be­cause lead­ers took re­spon­si­bil­ity and said, ‘We are go­ing to mea­sure it, we will get there and try all the dif­fer­ent in­no­va­tions.’”

Still, Mr Lee noted that “the job is never done” be­cause as the coun­try reaches new lev­els of de­vel­op­ment, new ex­pec­ta­tions and chal­lenges arise.

In health­care, Sin­ga­pore has to fo­cus on step­down care and ac­tive age­ing so that peo­ple stay fit and healthy for a longer time.

Mr Lee said: “We’ve got old folks in their 70s and 80s who are learn­ing to dance bal­let and do­ing not badly, and they’re much health­ier and hap­pier for it.”

Mr Kim said it was also “stun­ning” that Sin­ga­pore has achieved its cur­rent out­comes even though it spends just 4.6 per cent of its gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) on health­care.

The US spends 18 per cent of its GDP on health­care. Most Euro­pean na­tions spend 10 per cent to 12 per cent. – THE STRAITS TIMES

PHOTO: AFP

(From left) Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong and Mr Jim Yong Kim.

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