Africa: Human Development Report 2003, 07/27/03

AFRICA ACTION Africa Policy E-Journal July 27, 2003 (030727)

Africa: Human Development Report 2003 (Reposted from sources cited below)

This posting contains brief excerpts from press releases and text from the launch of this year's Human Development Report from the UN Development Programme. The report, which stresses the reversals in human development in many countries during the 1990s, also cites the possibility of progress, if both poor countries and rich countries invest necessary resources in priority measures known to be effective. In particular, the UNDP urges giving priority to mobilizing resources for 59 countries, many in Africa, which under current trends will not meet the globally agreed Millenium Development Goals.

The report was released in Dublin, Ireland and in Maputo, Mozambique, at the summit of the African Union, but received almost no news coverage in the United States. At the Maputo launch, UNDP administrator Mark Malloch Brown congratulated Ireland for increasing development assistance to the poorest countries, and Belgium and France for their pledges to join Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden in meeting the target of 0.7 percent of GNP for development assistance. Among rich countries, the U.S. supplies the lowest percentage in development assistance, at 0.11 percent of GNP.

For more information, including the full text of the report, see: The current Human Development Index ranking is included at the end of this posting.

Quote from press release: "Subsidies to US cotton growers equal more than triple the amount of US Government aid to sub-Saharan Africa. In the European Union, the cash subsidy to every dairy cow exceeds total per capita EU aid to sub-Saharan Africa."

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Human Development Report 2003

United Nations Development Programme One United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017 Tel: (212) 906 5295 Fax: (212) 906 5364

Human Development Report 2003 Charts Decade-long Income Drop in 54 Countries

New York, 8 July 2003 While much of the world experienced sustained economic growth in the 1990s, 54 developing countries suffered average income declines over the course of the decade, reveals the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report 2003.

Most of the countries that were poorer in 2000 than in 1990 are in sub-Saharan Africa. The Human Development Report 2003 argues that to reverse declines, development strategies must focus not only on economic growth, but also on more equitable distribution of wealth and services.

"Poverty can be a political problem," said Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator. "This Report shows that there are many countries where income levels are high enough to end absolute poverty, but where pockets of deep poverty remain, often because of worrying patterns of discrimination in the provision of basic services."

The Report introduces the new Millennium Development Compact, which proposes new global and regional policies to kick-start growth and reduce poverty. The Report argues that investment in industries and businesses that create jobs, such as manufacturing and textiles, are more important for human development than industries that require large amounts of capital, such as oil exploration and production. The Report also calls for special initiatives to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in developing countries.

The Report also calls on developing country governments to prioritize spending on the basic services that poor people need most: primary schools, not universities; rural clinics, not technologically advanced hospitals in big cities. "Poor countries cannot afford to wait until they are wealthy before they invest in their people," said Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals, and a guest contributor to this year's Human Development Report. "This is the wrong way round. They need rural health clinics, schools, roads, and safe drinking water and sanitation, so that economic growth can take root in the first place. Investment in meeting basic needs isn't just desirable in its own right for ending human suffering, but it is also a key part of an overall strategy of economic growth."

The Human Development Report 2003 shows that in many countries women, the rural poor and ethnic minorities do not get their fair share of increased social spending. Data shows patterns of discrimination in terms of access to education, healthcare, safe water and sanitation. In a majority of the countries in the developing world with reliable statistics charting health standards in rural as well as urban areas, progress towards the reduction of child mortality rates has been notably lower in the countryside than in cities. It is striking that in Cambodia, for instance, where 85 percent of the people live in the countryside, only 13 percent of government health workers work in rural areas.

The Millennium Development Goals are based on the premise that economic growth alone will not rescue the world from the poverty that entraps more than one billion people. Without addressing issues like malnutrition and illiteracy that are both causes and symptoms of poverty, the Goals will not be met. The statistics today are shaming: More than 13 million children have died through diarrhoeal disease in the past decade. Each year, over half a million women, one for every minute of the day, die in pregnancy and childbirth. More than 800 million suffer from malnutrition.

Many of the solutions to the problems of hunger, disease, and illiteracy are known such as bed nets to prevent malaria; midwives to assist labouring women; fertilizers to increase agricultural productivity; hygiene training to safeguard potable water supplies. These are hardly high-tech strategies. Yet combined they would save millions of lives.


Rich Countries Called on to Keep Promise to Fight Global Poverty

Fairer trade, more aid and debt relief critical to solving world's development crisis

New York, 8 July 2003 Despite the promises by wealthy nations to eradicate extreme poverty, developing nations still need more aid, fairer terms of trade, and meaningful debt relief, says the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report 2003.

The Report warns that unless rich countries keep their pledges to deliver financing for development, the Millennium Development Goals a series of time-bound, quantifiable targets ranging from halving poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015 will not be met.

The Millennium Development Goals endorsed by all members of the United Nations and embraced anew by the Group of Eight leaders in France last month set out eight specific cross-cutting goals that are essential to the fight against poverty. The first seven goals outline what poor countries must do to meet the goals. The eighth goal is aimed at rich countries and their commitment to respond to developing countries' political and economic reforms with increased economic assistance, lowered import barriers and the deduction or elimination of unsustainable debts.

The Human Development Report 2003 warns that these commitments are not being met. Unless rich countries keep their pledge to deliver financing for development, the Millennium Development Goals will not be met, the UNDP Report states.

"The concept behind a fair deal is for both rich and developing countries to be held accountable to benchmarks and deadlines," said Eveline Herfkens, Executive Coordinator of the Millennium Development Goals' Campaign. "Without rich nations doing their share, the poor countries will not be able to achieve the Goals." The Report challenges rich countries to set concrete targets and deadlines and take action by:

* Dismantling unfair trade subsidies and tariffs to create a level playing field.

OECD countries provide more than US$300 billion in agricultural subsidies each year. Subsidies to US cotton growers equal more than triple the amount of US Government aid to sub-Saharan Africa. In the European Union, the cash subsidy to every dairy cow exceeds total per capita EU aid to sub-Saharan Africa. The report urges rich countries to eliminate the discriminatory tariffs, quotas and subsidies that inhibit agricultural trade and investment in the developing world.

* Writing off unsustainable debt.

The Human Development Report 2003 argues that rich countries need to provide more meaningful debt relief and calls on donor countries to be more cognizant of the particular debt burdens faced by heavily indebted poor countries. In all of the world's 42 Highly Indebted Poor Countries, per capita income is less than $1,500 and between 1990 and 2001 these economies grew on average by only half a percent per year.

* Stepping-up aid flows.

Last year the long decline in official aid flows was at last halted, and they rose to $57 billion (from $52.3 billion in 2001). At the Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development in 2002, both rich and poor countries pledged support for the policy reforms and new resources needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, including a promise to increase annual aid flows by $16 billion by 2006. But even if the commitments announced in Monterrey are fulfilled, the total will still fall far short of the $100 billion minimum needed per year to meet the goals.

* Creating better access to technological progress.

Only 10 percent of research and development focuses on the health problems of 90 percent of the world's people. Rich countries have undermined the right of poor countries to make life-saving drugs available to their people at affordable prices; a right endorsed by the World Trade Organization's agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The Human Development Report 2003 also calls on rich countries to make this right a reality.

Much of the debate around the Goals has focused on whether poor countries will meet the Millennium targets. The HDR 2003 argues that rich countries should be subject to the same scrutiny, and be made to report on their progress towards meeting Goal 8. These progress reports would contribute to a global poverty reduction strategy.

"It is not a matter of charity," said the report's lead author, Sakiko Fukuda- Parr. "Diseases don't respect neat geographical boundaries, nor do hurricanes or droughts or wars. These are the shared responsibilities of an increasingly inter-dependent world.


2003 Human Development Index Reveals Development Crisis

21 countries suffered socio-economic reversals in the 1990s

New York, 8 July 2003 The world is facing an acute development crisis, with many poor nations suffering severe and continuing socio-economic reversals, warns the Human Development Report 2003.

The Report's annual Human Development Index (HDI), measuring the progress of nations on key social and economic indicators, shows that 21 countries experienced declines in the 1990s. In the 1980s, only four countries tracked by UNDP showed similar decade-long declines.

"Reversals in HDI are highly unusual as these indicators generally tend to edge up slowly over time," said Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator. "The fact that over the course of the 1990's, 21 countries experienced a decline in some cases a drastic drop signifies an urgent call for action to address health and education as well as income levels in these countries."

The 2003 Human Development Index ranks 175 countries for 2001, the most recent year of available data. The top and the bottom of the Index remain unchanged from last year: Norway is on top and Sierra Leone is on the bottom. The Index, developed in 1990, takes stock of fundamental aspects of human development in countries both rich and poor. The Index is a composite measure of lifeexpectancy, education and income per-person.

* Almost all of the "low human development" countries at the bottom of the Index are in sub-Saharan Africa: 30 out of a total of 34.

* Roughly half of the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean recorded either a decline or stagnation in income during the 1990s.

* Eastern Europe and Central Asia saw an overall decline in the 2003 Human Development Index resulting from falling per capita income. The decline was particularly steep in Moldova, Tajikistan, Russian Federation and the Ukraine.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the devastation of the HIV/AIDS pandemic is responsible for the declines in the 2003 Human Development Index. Life expectancy has fallen dramatically with HIV/AIDS incidence rates as high as one in five in some countries. South Africa, for instance, fell 28 ranks from 1990 primarily because more people were dying younger from AIDS-related illnesses. Declines in the Index for Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe tell a similar story. Yet there was also positive news from the developing world in the 2003 Human Development Index, with countries from all continents registering major gains since 1990:

* Benin, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda, Senegal and Uganda have all significantly improved their rankings.

* Bangladesh, China, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand also moved up over the last decade.

* Brazil recorded a big jump in the Human Development Index due mainly to its education efforts. Bolivia and Peru also improved their positions as a result of social policy reforms over the same period.

[Countries showing decline 1980-1990 were: Dem. Rep. of Congo, Guayna, Rwanda, and Zambia. Countries showing decline 1990-2001 were Armenia, Belarus, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Congo, Dem. Rep. of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Lesotho, Moldova, Russia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tajikstan, Tanzania, Ukraine, Zambia, Zimbabwe.] ...


Signs of Progress [The report cites progress in several countries as examples of what is possible to achieve; this summary is excerpted from Chapter 2]

Still, during the 1990s:

* Cape Verde, Mauritius, Mozambique and Uganda averaged per capita income growth of more than 3% a year.

* Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa achieved some of the world's sharpest reductions in hunger.Ghana reduced its hunger rate from 35% to 12%, and Mozambique from 69% to 55%.

* Benin increased its primary enrolment rate from 49% to 70%. Mali and Senegal increased primary enrolment rates by 15 percentage points or more. Primary completion rates also rose in some of the poorest countries - in Mali by more than 20 percentage points.

* Many of the poorest countries made good progress towards gender equality in primary and secondary education. Mauritania led the pack, increasing the ratio of girls to boys from 67% to 93% between 1990 and 1996. Mali and Nepal narrowed their gaps by 10 percentage points or more in the 1990s.

* Despite HIV/AIDS, there were some remarkable improvements in child survival in Sub-Saharan Africa. Guinea reduced its child mortality rate by 7 percentage points, and Malawi and Niger by 5 percentage points or more. There were also dramatic reductions in some of the poorest countries in Asia. Bhutan and Lao People's Democratic Republic reduced under-five deaths from around 16% to 10%, and Bangladesh from 14% to 8%.

* Though HIV/AIDS has generally taken a crushing toll on Sub- Saharan Africa, there have been some notable exceptions. Uganda reduced infection rates for eight consecutive years in the 1990s, and Zambia may become the second country in the region to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS from crisis levels. Senegal has also prevented the spread of the disease.

* Cote d'Ivoire and Mali increased the proportion of people with access to safe water by 10 percentage points or more. In addition, Ghana and Senegal increased the proportion of people with access to improved sanitation by 10 percentage points or more.



The HDI measures achievements in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income

High human development

1 Norway 2 Iceland 3 Sweden 4 Australia 5 Netherlands 6 Belgium 7 United States 8 Canada 9 Japan 10 Switzerland

11 Denmark 12 Ireland 13 United Kingdom 14 Finland 15 Luxembourg 16 Austria 17 France 18 Germany 19 Spain 20 New Zealand

21 Italy 22 Israel 23 Portugal 24 Greece 25 Cyprus 26 Hong Kong,China (SAR) 27 Barbados 28 Singapore 29 Slovenia 30 Korea,Rep. of

31 Brunei Darussalam 32 Czech Republic 33 Malta 34 Argentina 35 Poland 36 Seychelles* 37 Bahrain 38 Hungary 39 Slovakia 40 Uruguay

41 Estonia 42 Costa Rica 43 Chile 44 Qatar 45 Lithuania 46 Kuwait 47 Croatia 48 United Arab Emirates 49 Bahamas 50 Latvia

51 Saint Kitts and Nevis 52 Cuba 53 Belarus 54 Trinidad and Tobago 55 Mexico

Medium Human Development

56 Antigua and Barbuda 57 Bulgaria 58 Malaysia 59 Panama 60 Macedonia,TFYR

61 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya* 62 Mauritius* 63 Russian Federation 64 Colombia 65 Brazil 66 Bosnia and Herzegovina 67 Belize 68 Dominica 69 Venezuela 70 Samoa (Western)

71 Saint Lucia 72 Romania 73 Saudi Arabia 74 Thailand 75 Ukraine 76 Kazakhstan 77 Suriname 78 Jamaica 79 Oman 80 St.Vincent and the Grenadines

81 Fiji 82 Peru 83 Lebanon 84 Paraguay 85 Philippines 86 Maldives 87 Turkmenistan 88 Georgia 89 Azerbaijan 90 Jordan

91 Tunisia* 92 Guyana 93 Grenada 94 Dominican Republic 95 Albania 96 Turkey 97 Ecuador 98 Occupied Palestinian Territories 99 Sri Lanka 100 Armenia

101 Uzbekistan 102 Kyrgyzstan 103 Cape Verde* 104 China 105 El Salvador 106 Iran, Islamic Rep. of 107 Algeria* 108 Moldova,Rep.of 109 Viet Nam 110 Syrian Arab Republic

111 South Africa* 112 Indonesia 113 Tajikistan 114 Bolivia 115 Honduras 116 Equatorial Guinea* 117 Mongolia 118 Gabon* 119 Guatemala 120 Egypt*

121 Nicaragua 122 Sao Tome and Principe* 123 Solomon Islands 124 Namibia* 125 Botswana* 126 Morocco* 127 India 128 Vanuatu 129 Ghana* 130 Cambodia

131 Myanmar 132 Papua New Guinea 133 Swaziland* 134 Comoros* 135 Lao People's Dem.Rep. 136 Bhutan 137 Lesotho* 138 Sudan* 139 Bangladesh 140 Congo*

141 Togo*

Low human development

142 Cameroon* 143 Nepal 144 Pakistan 145 Zimbabwe* 146 Kenya* 147 Uganda* 148 Yemen 149 Madagascar* 150 Haiti

151 Gambia* 152 Nigeria* 153 Djibouti* 154 Mauritania* 155 Eritrea* 156 Senegal* 157 Guinea* 158 Rwanda* 159 Benin* 160 Tanzania, U.Rep. of*

161 Cote d'Ivoire* 162 Malawi* 163 Zambia* 164 Angola* 165 Chad* 166 Guinea-Bissau* 167 Congo,Dem.Rep. of the* 168 Central African Republic* 169 Ethiopia* 170 Mozambique*

171 Burundi* 172 Mali* 173 Burkina Faso* 174 Niger* 175 Sierra Leone*

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Date distributed (ymd): 030727 Region: Continent-Wide Issue Areas: +economy/development+


Message-Id: <> From: "Africa Action" <> Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 20:38:19 -0500 Subject: Africa: Human Development Report 2003