Leveraging Services for Employment, Growth and Equity – Access to Essential Services: The Global Context for Education, Health, Water and Sanitation

by PILLAY, P, 2005
Research Report, Employment Growth & Development Initiative, Human Sciences Research Council

As the Millennium Development Compact argues, the first cluster of policies required for countries to break out of poverty traps involve investing in health and education. These investments contribute to growth and human development. Moreover, education, health, nutrition, and water and sanitation complement each other, with investments in any one contributing to better outcomes in the others. Policymakers thus need to recognise the synergies among the many aspects of human development. This notion of synergies among social investments is central to reducing hunger, malnutrition, disease and illiteracy, and advancing human capabilities. Pilay starts by assessing why developing countries fail to provide essential services. It then looks in more detail at the delivery of various services, including education, health, and water and sanitation. The next section reviews cross-cutting priorities, such as increasing the level, efficiency and equity of public spending on basic services, improving the quantity and quality of aid for basic services, improving sector-wide programmes, covering some recurrent spending, and developing technologies for poor people. The analysis then turns to the private financing of education, health and water. The final section discusses the need for effective government systems, strengthening the state, involving non-governmental organisations, identifying better ways of financing services, and addressing the risks of privatisation.