Nigeria’s human development index growth not as high as others in sub-Saharan Africa- UNDP

Job seekers in Nigeria

Nigeria’s is not as high as that of Angola, Burundi, Tanzania, and so on.

Despite the reported growth in the Nigerian economy, the country did not make the list of 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that recorded more than two per cent annual human development index, HDI, gains since 2000, the 2013 Human Development Report, HDR, has revealed.

The improvements in the economy have been stated by senior government officials including the Finance Minister and the Governor of the Central Bank.

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said at the briefing on the 2013 Budget in Abuja last week that “in spite of the turbulent global economic environment and changing global oil map, the Nigerian economy has been resilient, experiencing a robust growth in 2012 of 6.5 per cent compared with global growth of 3.2 per cent, with inflation down to single-digits at 9 per cent in January 2013 compared with 12.6 per cent in January 2012.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN governor, Lamido Sansui during the last Monetary Policy Committee, MPC, meeting gave estimated real Gross Domestic Product, GDP, growth rate at 6.61 per cent for 2012, saying it is lower than the level recorded in 2011 by 0.84 per cent.

He said the GDP growth rate of about 7.09 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012 was higher than the 6.48 per cent in the third quarter, though lower than the 7.68 per cent recorded in the corresponding period of 2011.

However, the report which was launched on Thursday by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, Administrator, Helen Clark and President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto in Mexico City, listed lesser endowed African countries among those that made the greatest strides in HDI improvement since 2000.

The countries include Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. Sierra Leone showed the second-highest HDI improvement in the world since 2000.

The Report, titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World,” shows that Africa has the second highest growth in its accompanying HDI after South Asia over the past ten years.

The term “the South” refers to developing countries and “the North” developed ones.

“Africa has achieved sustained rates of economic growth at a time of great involvement with emerging economies,” says Regional Director of UNDP Africa, Tegegnework Gettu, who also noted that “the progress has been broad-based, with strong improvements in other dimensions of human development such as health and education.”

Compared to other regions, the report said sub-Saharan Africa still has the lowest average national HDI, with the 11 top performers a mix of countries with or without resources as well as diversified and high-performing agriculture-based economies including Angola, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda and Uganda.

“That progress has happened amid an upsurge in trade, investment and development cooperation with emerging economies like Brazil, China and India that have succeeded in pulling millions out of poverty,” the report said.

Citing China’s trade with sub-Saharan Africa as an example, the report said the trade relations yielded an increase from about $1billion to more than $140 billion between 1992 and 2011, adding that countries in Africa have continued to increase their partnership with a diverse set of regions, such as funds based in the Arab region and Latin American firms.

It said existing relationships with bilateral partners have helped boost exports, create jobs and finance needed for infrastructure on the continent while many African nations have tapped into new funding, technology, markets and know-how to invigorate their economies.

The advances, the report noted, are best achieved in countries with strong political leadership, openness and transparency to trade and a firm focus on innovative social policies, pointing out that investments targeted at the health sector has resulted in a surge in life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2012 to 55 after stagnating between 1990 and 2000 as a result of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

It identified education as another area where remarkable improvement is recorded, with significant improvements in access to health services in Rwanda through community-based health insurance and successive waves of education reform in Ghana and Uganda.

“By combining regional integration and partnerships with developed and emerging economies, sub-Saharan Africa will be in a position to continue to grow and improve the lives of millions,” the Report noted, adding that aggregate HDI in sub-Saharan Africa could rise by 52 per cent by 2050.

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