Human Development as a Driving Force for Economic Sustainability


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An investment in human development may initially seem beneficial for individuals, but it also holds significant potential for collective progress by strengthening the economic aspects of society. For example, many countries around the globe, such as Bangladesh and Norway, contribute to the study and identification of a direct and positive relationship between human development and economic sustainability. Human development serves as an umbrella term, encompassing investments in education, health, and social protection sectors, leading to increased human proficiencies and productivity. Ultimately, these developments result in an upturn in a country’s economic growth and overall well-being. This answer aims to delve into specific factors that demonstrate how human development can potentially enhance economic sustainability.

Debunking the key terms: Human Development and Economic Sustainability, and understanding the nature of their relation

  • Human development

Human development is advancing people’s liberties, expanding opportunities, and enhancing their well-being. Human development emphasizes investing in people and creating a broader net of options through education, health, and skills development. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) introduced the concept through the Human Development Index (HDI), which measures a country’s development by considering indicators such as life expectancy, education, and per capita income. Human development goes beyond the traditional concept of economic growth, aiming to improve the overall well-being of individuals and countries.

  • Economic sustainability 

The economic aspect of society is tremendously complex and dynamic. For this system to thrive, it needs to maintain and improve its well-being over the long term. This phenomenon is called economic sustainability, also known as economic viability or economic development.

  • Positive correlation between Human development and economic sustainability 

The relationship between human development and economic sustainability is straightforward and favourable. Advancements in the former significantly contribute to the enhancement of the latter. People’s overall well-being improves through access to quality education, healthcare, and increased opportunities, so they become more skilled, healthy, competent, and economically active. This increase in human proficiency and productivity strengthens the economy and ensures sustainability. Many economists believe human development is vital for a country’s economic well-being.

Exploring the factors that indicate the strong correlation between human development and economic sustainability 

  • The availability of skilled workforce

Talking about the factors, human development, mainly through quality education and vocational training, plays a significant role in cultivating a skilled workforce with enhanced productivity and efficiency. Indeed, the access to quality education ensures relevant knowledge, while vocational training provides expertise essential for generating a well-equipped labour force. By investing in the development of individuals and providing them with the required skills, societies can significantly improve their economic condition. 

  • The increase in innovation and research 

Next, investment in education, research, and development fosters an environment that nurtures new ideas and drives innovation. Therefore, research and innovation play a crucial role in facilitating the economic growth of a country by promoting technological advancements and generating novel solutions to societal challenges. By supporting these endeavors, nations can position themselves at the forefront of progress, driving economic prosperity and societal development in an ever-evolving world.

  • Increased market competitiveness and adaptability

Moreover, improved human development equip individuals with skills that make them highly adaptable and responsive to the market’s changing demands. This enhanced adaptability often leads to increased competitiveness both domestically and on the global scale. So, an individual with quality education and proper work training demonstrates the flexibility that significantly contributes to the competitiveness of their business, ultimately playing a vital role in driving economic growth within the country.

  • Social inclusion and reduced income inequalities

Further, human development is a transformative process that ensures equal access to opportunities, resources, and mass participation. This eliminates socioeconomic disparities and empowers individuals to reach their full potential without discrimination or barriers. This social inclusion and elimination of social inequalities often lead to poverty alleviation, contributing significantly to the country’s overall economic well-being.

  • Enhanced potential to attract foreign investors 

Adding more to it, countries with an educated population and skilled workforce often attract the attention of foreign investors. In fact, the enhanced population proficiency and stable social environment make the country an ideal destination for foreign direct investment. Therefore, the influx of foreign investment plays a significant role in the economic growth of a nation and ensures its sustainability. 

  • Retention of experts and prevention from brain drain

 Likewise, nations with high human development create societies that cater to the needs of all individuals, preventing the emigration of skilled workforce and motivating these experts to stay and serve in their own country. This brain drain prevention contributes significantly to the country’s economic advancement by harnessing its own human capital. By providing a conducive environment for talent retention and nurturing the skills of its citizens, the government can build a robust and sustainable economy, ensuring the prosperity and growth of the nation as a whole.

  • Higher entrepreneurial potential

Lastly, an educated and healthy population is more likely to explore innovative income-generation methods. Human development fosters creativity and productivity, which, in turn, increases the possibilities of entrepreneurship. Access to quality education and improved proficiency enrich not only individuals but also open, diverse opportunities in the professional realm. By investing in human capital, societies empower citizens to lead more fulfilling and economically productive lives, contributing to sustainable economic development.

Case studies

  • Bangladesh navigating Human development challenges towards economic progress

Bangladesh, a densely populated country with a population of over 160 million, has grappled with economic stability for years. Despite the socio-economic challenges, Bangladesh has made remarkable strides in human development. The government of Bangladesh, particularly in the last few decades, has prioritized investment in education, health, and social welfare programs. As a result, the nation has shown a positive trajectory of economic progress. Bangladesh has invested heavily in its education sector, mainly focusing on women’s education. For instance, the “Female Secondary School Stipend Program in Bangladesh” is a program that provides a stipend of Taka 100 per month per child to mothers in need of financial support, conditional on their child’s school attendance. The Ministry of Education in Bangladesh began a female secondary school stipend program in 1994. The girls have to satisfy three conditions to receive a cash stipend. First, girls have to attend 75% of school days. Second, girls have to attain 45% in class-level test scores. These initiatives and efforts of Bangladesh’s government to expand primary education have led to cultivating a skilled workforce in the country. 

  • Norway- An exemplar of high human development and economic prosperity 

Norway stands as a model of high human development and economic sustainability. Norway’s commitment to human development has made the country one of the world’s most stable economies. Norway boasts some of the best schools and higher education in the world. For instance, “Knowledge Promotion Reform (Kunnskapsløftet)” was a reform that was Introduced in 2006. It is a comprehensive education reform aimed at enhancing the quality and relevance of education in Norway. The reform covers primary and secondary education and promotes key competencies, critical thinking, and practical skills. Norway’s commitment to education and research has nurtured a highly skilled workforce and technological advancements, leading to economic success. 


In conclusion, human development and economic sustainability are interconnected entities with a direct correlation. Investments in education, research, health, and social welfare often lead to the attainment of a skilled workforce, foster innovation, and attract foreign direct investment. Additionally, human development contributes to the retention of experts and promotes entrepreneurship, vital elements for a country’s economic prosperity. All countries, particularly developing and underdeveloped nations, should prioritize human development as it provides a blueprint for achieving financial sustainability, ultimately leading to a brighter future for the country.

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