November 6, 2010

Country ranks 153 on UN human development index

Malawi has been making progress to human development for the last 20 years according to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In the Human Development Index ranking for 2010, Malawi is lowly ranked 153 out of 169 countries surveyed. But Malawi is ahead of neighbouring countries Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Malawi has however jumped seven places from 2009 report ranking of 160 to get to 153.

But the UN says this year’s HDI should not be compared to previous ones because the indicators and calculations used this time were different. "Between 1980 and 2010, Malawi’s HDI rose by 1.3 percent annually from 0.258 to 0.385 today, which gives the country a rank of 153 out of 169 countries with comparable data. The HDI of sub-Saharan Africa as a region increased from 0.293 in 1980 to 0.389 today, placing Malawi below the regional average," reads the report.

The UNDP ranking is based on a so-called Human Development Index (HDI) with variables such as access to health and education, gender inequalities, political freedom and poverty levels. In 2010, Malawi’s life expectancy was 54.1 years and average annual income of 902.248 dollars. The index shows that Malawi’s HDI value for 2010 is 0.385. The report says on average a child born today can expect to attend almost 8 years of school and mean years of schools is averaged at 4.3. The report notes that Malawi is one of the nations which have worked hard to get more children into school during the past 20 years. It highlights Malawi as a forerunner in abolishing school fees for primary school in 1994 and that enrolment grew 97 percent between 1990 and 1995.

Mauritius ranked highest among sub-Saharan states – number 72 in the world – and is followed by Gabon, 93, and Botswana, 98. Zimbabwe came in last among the 169 nations ranked, behind Mozambique (165), Burundi, Niger and Democratic Republic of Congo (168). DR Congo, Zambia (150) and Zimbabwe are the only three countries to see their HDI value fall below 1970 levels. (Nyasa Times)

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