United Nations – Nigeria is placed 156 out of 187 countries in a new UN study, which ranks countries on their education, income and life expectancy.
The 2011 Human Development Index (HDI) released on Wednesday by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) put Norway, Australia and the Netherlands on the top three countries to live in.
Nigeria placed 142 out of 169 a year ago, was listed among “least human development’’ countries in terms of wealth and low educational ranking.
However, the 2011 HDI covered a record 187 countries and territories, up from 169 in 2010 and according to the authors the 2011 country rankings “are therefore not comparable’’ to last years figures.
The 2011 report entitled “Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All’’, put Nigeria’s life expectancy at 51.9, below that of Libya 74, Mauritus 73.4, Gabon 62.7 and South Africa, 52.8.
The UN ranks a country’s life expectancy by the number of years a newborn infant could expect to live if prevailing pattern of age specific mortality rates at the time of birth stay the same throughout the infants life.
A country’s educational achievements is assessed by combining adult literacy rates along with enrolment in primary, secondary and university institutions.
On education, the index on Nigeria shows that the average number of years of schooling received by people’s ages 25 and older is 5.0.
The report puts the highest possible years of schooling for a child in Nigeria at 8.9, if the prevailing patterns of age-specific enrolment rates persist throughout the child’s life.
With a Gross national income (GNI) per capita of 2,069 dollars, Nigeria lags behind countries like Equatorial Guinea (17,608 dollars), Botswana (13,049 dollars) and Gabon (12,249 dollars).
However the report shows Nigeria to be among sub-Saharan Africa countries that recorded the highest average HDI improvement over the past decade of any region in the world.
Between 1970 and 2010, countries in the lowest 25 per cent of countries ranked—the majority of them African improved their overall HDI achievement by 82 per cent, twice the global average.
There have been many important gains at the national level.
The report shows that extreme poverty has declined in both Kenya and Nigeria, noting that these advances are attributable in part to improvements in water, sanitation, health and other living standards.
Mauritius is the highest HDI achiever in sub-Saharan Africa followed by Gabon Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
Nonetheless, sub-Saharan Africa is still home to the 10 countries with the lowest HDI levels of the 187 nations and territories included in the 2011 index.
The 10 countries that place last in the 2011 HDI are all in sub-Saharan Africa: Guinea, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Chad, Mozambique, Burundi, Niger, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
These low-HDI nations still suffer from inadequate incomes, limited schooling opportunities, and life expectancies far below world averages, partly due to deaths from preventable and treatable diseases such as malaria and AIDS.
The report added that in many of these countries lingering armed conflict had further compounded the problem. (NAN)