A new report by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has shown Nigeria’s Human Development Index rising by two points and life expectancy also rising by eight years.
The report measured national achievements in Human Development Index in health, education and income/standard of living in 187 countries. Nigeria’s rising population, put at 190 million, appears to be a drag in the index computations.
The HDI report showed that Nigeria’s HDI value for 2017 was 0.532. It was 0.530 in 2016. And it has shown a consistent increase since the measurement began in 2003. From that base year, when the HDI was estimated at 0.443, it has now increased to 0.532 in 2017, marking a 14.4 per cent over the period.
The country’s life expectancy at birth was also put at 53.9 years while between 1990 and 2017, Nigeria’s life expectancy at birth has increased by 8.0 years, the report showed.
But overall, Nigeria’s ranking did not change from 157th out of the 189 countries sampled.
There are other good news in the report. Years of schooling increased by one year and expected years of schooling increased by 3.3 years, according to the report.
Nigeria’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita increased by about 87.4 percent between 1990 and 2017, the UNDP report showed.
The report put Nigeria’s population at 190.1 million in 2017 while the country’s projected population in 2030 is 264.1 million
Norway, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland and Germany led the ranking of 189 countries and territories in the latest HDI, and with the exceptions of 2007 and 2008, Norway has topped the HDI chart every year since 2001.
However, Niger, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad and Burundi have the lowest scores in the HDI’s measurement of national achievements in health, education and income, with Niger at the lowest for several years.
A child born today in Norway could expect to live beyond 82 years old and spend almost 18 years in school while a child born in Niger could expect only to live to 60 and spend just five years in school.
The HDI criteria are designed to be broad enough to be inclusive of countries’ social, political and economic diversity while being indicative of a country’s quality of life.
Key regional development trends, as shown by the HDI and other human development indices, showed that Sub-Saharan Africa region has seen a 35 per cent growth in HDI since 1990.
Rwanda ranked highest country in the world with most women in parliament. The country has held the top spot since 2008 with the women holding more than half the seats in the parliament.
Out of the 189 countries for which the HDI is calculated, 59 countries are in the very high human development group and only 38 countries fall in the low HDI group.
While no African country is in the “very high human development” rank, six African countries are now in the “high human development” group. The countries are the small island nations of Seychelles, 0.797 (62), Mauritius, 0.790 (65), Algeria, Algeria, 0.754(85) , Botswana, 0.717 (101), Libya, 0.706 (108) and Gabon, 0.702 (110). The surprise entry is Libya, despite the ravaging wars in the country.
Fourteen countries in the region are now in the “medium human development” group. They are South Africa, 113 (0.699), Egypt, 115 (0.696), Morocco, 123 (0.667), Cape Verde, 125 (0.654), Namibia, 129 (0.647), Congo, 137 (0.606).
Others are Ghana, 140 (0.592), Equatorial Guinea, 141 (0.591), Kenya, 142 (0.590), Sao Tome and Principe, 143 (0.589), Kingdom of e-Swatini, 144 (0.588), Zambia, 144 (0.588), Angola, 147 (0.581), and Cameroon, 151 (0.556).
In the “low human development” group, countries that ranked higher than Nigeria are: Tanzania, 154 (0.538) and Zimbabwe, 156 (0.535). Nigeria followed at 157 (0.532).
Nigeria was rated better than Senegal(164th, Ivory Coast 170th, Rwanda(158th), Lesotho(159th), Mauritania(159th), Madagascar(161st), Uganda(162nd), Benin(163rd), Togo(165th). Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Congo DR, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Liberia. Others rated lower to Nigeria are Mali, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Niger, Burundi, Chad, South Sudan, Central Africa Republic.
At 101 per 1,000 live births, Sub-Saharan Africa’s adolescent birth rate is more than twice the world average of 44 per 1,000 live births.
While Sub-Saharan Africa’s maternal mortality ratio is 549 deaths per 100,000 live births, some countries in the region such as Cape Verde have achieved a much lower rate of 42 deaths per 100,000 live births.
The UN said while health, education, and income levels have improved overall across the globe, “wide inequalities” both among and within countries, are casting a shadow on sustained human development.
“While these statistics present a stark picture in themselves, they also speak to the tragedy of millions of individuals whose lives are affected by inequity and lost opportunities, neither of which are inevitable,” said Achim Steiner, the Administrator of UNDP.
“Inequality in all its forms and dimensions, between and within countries, limits people’s choices and opportunities, withholding progress,” explained Selim Jahan, Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP.