On 9 December 2020, I was joined by colleagues from the World Bank for a webinar together with leaders from the Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) about the need to accelerate the development of human capital (HC) and expand regional cooperation
during COVID-19. We also spoke to leaders from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain about their plans to implement accelerated
COVID-19 response measures. GCC countries are building up the Gulfs HCs and shifting toward knowledge-based economic
development in order to compete in the 21st century and to offer their peoples skills jobs. Most of the GCC countries have
made progress on their human capital index (HCI) over the past decade. Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Countries The
Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) region has made strong progress in improving their human capital over the past
This research has documented measures taken by four countries–Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)–to
tackle the challenges in human capital (individuals education, skills, abilities, and knowledge) and labor markets. As a
result, policymakers in these countries have paid significant attention to the development of human capital, to matching
population skills with the skills required by the labor market, and to the quality of the education provided. Outcomes of
growth in STEM PhDs, cultivation of AI (Artificial Intelligence) curricula, advances in military training, and increased
research and development (R&D;) expenditures show areas in which public policies are shaping the nations human capital in
ways that promote skills and knowledge that are sought after. Investments in higher education, STEM-related strategic
sectors, and military talents show the main areas in which Chinas attention is focused on nurturing human capital.
Inequality between Chinas urban and rural populations poses a key challenge for the countrys economic productivity and
capacity to develop human capital. The regions future depends on the extent to which GCC countries are able to continue
promoting the development of human capital (HC) for the next generations. We can analyse that in coming days, knowledge
economies in GCC countries will increase. One of the main objectives of reforms is curbing high NCD rates and risk factors.
Prioritize government investments in early childhood development (ECD) and increase early childhood education enrollment.
Mohammad-Al-Jadan also mentioned steps Saudi Arabia is taking to improve labor markets, education, and skills development,
and in investment and banking. Prioritizing Knowledge Economy development, the GCC countries have been taking the initiative
to create strategies tailored to their own particular needs and preconditions in order to reach their goals. Second, since
the beginning of COVID-19, numerous countries across the Middle East and North Africa have shown their keen attention to
protecting human capital, increasing cash transfers and strengthening the safety net.