Ethiopia’s Human Dev’t Index Low despite Progress, Report says

ADDIS ABEBA – Ethiopia’s Human Development Index or HDI is still below the average of countries in the low human development category despite progress, a new global report shows.

UN Development Program or UNDP released its annual Human Development Report 2019 in Addis Abeba on Tuesday.

The report notes most of the countries in the low human development category are located in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The report’s development index measures country’s long-term progress in three basic dimensions of human development; a long and healthy life, access to knowledge as well as a decent standard of living.

It observes that African countries have made significant strides in advancing human development, gaining ground on the key indicators of primary education and health.

Between 1990 and 2018 life expectancy increased by more than 11 years in the continent, says the report

In Ethiopia, the report indicates, life expectancy at birth increased by 19.1 percent in Ethiopia.

The East African nation’s index value shows a 65.8 percent increment between 2000 and 2018 – from 0.283 to 0.470.

Despite the overall progress, Ethiopia is still in the low human development category positioning it at 173 out of 189 countries and territories.

The report says new inequalities in Africa are becoming more pronounced particularly around tertiary education, seismic effects of technology and the climate crisis making it harder for those already behind to catch up.

In the case of Ethiopia, inequality is having a profound cost, with the data showing a loss of 28.4 percent as the country’s Human Development Index falls to 0.337.

In terms of Gender Inequality Index (GII), the report claims Ethiopia is ranked 123 out of 162 countries with a value of 0.508.

Only 37.3 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women, while only 11.5 percent of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 22.0 percent of their male counterparts.

HDR, published with a theme ‘Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st century,’ puts emphasis on early childhood and lifelong investment including investing in young children’s learning, health and nutrition to tackle inequality.

It recommends investments in policies that enhance productivity, fair taxation and improved public spending.

The report also highlights how ‘averages’ often hide what is really going on in society and the need for much more detailed information to tackle inequality effectively and to address multiple dimensions of poverty.

By Mhret G/Kristos

Image: From L to R UNDP Ethiopia National Economist Haile Kibret, UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative Turhan Saleh, UNDP Ethiopia Deputy Resident Representative Cleophas Torori. Photo UNDP