This is Volume II of a four set series that reports on progress with economic, political, and social development in Africa over recent decades. Volume I deals with social peace, the basic functioning (or not) of government, and how to measure economic development at the household level. Volume II is focused on human capital. This includes public health and various efforts to improve the empowerment–and thus the human development outcomes–for women and girls. We place these issues in a broad economic context, and also include some cutting-edge research on other dimensions of human capital in the African development context. As with the overall economic picture on the past two decades, there are signs of improvement along purely social dimensions of development in Africa. Volume I established that the institutional context for development in Africa remains difficult. But a key theme in Volume II is that no one should conclude that African specifics imply nothing works or that everything becomes corrupted into being completely ineffective. Our researchers have identified important issues, as well as interventions or policy innovations that appear to be gaining traction. The companion volumes III and IV deal with modernization and sustainable growth respectively. Countries covered in detail in this volume include Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia.