The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Thursday 4th November released its flagship publication, the 2010 Human Development Report (HDR), which shows that Botswana’s human development has improved steadily between 1980 and 2010.
On that basis, the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) ranking places the country at 98 out of a total of 169 countries, which is an elevation by 15 points since 1980 and deemed as considerable improvement from 125 in 2009.
To highlight the premises of evaluation, Human Development is explained as the expansion of people’s freedoms to live long healthy and creative lives, and to advance other goals they have reason to value.
Active engagement in shaping development equitably and sustainably on a shared planet, adds up to the UN’s definition of Human development, with people as individuals and groups being both beneficiaries and drivers of the process.
Comparatively, “Botswana’s per capita income has grown nine fold between 1970 and 2010, with Malaysia and Thailand’s rising fivefold, while Liechtenstein, the world’s richest country has become three times richer than the richest in 1970,”read part of the report.
In the same vein, mention was made of the fact that the world’s poorest country, Zimbabwe, was found by the HDI to be 25% poorer than the poorest in 1970, which incidentally was the same country, Zimbabwe.
According to the Report, Botswana’s positive outcomes emanate largely from striking progress made mainly in terms of the non health measures of the HDI such as per capita income, education, access to basic services such as water and sanitation.
The UNDP Report’s major contribution was purportedly the assessment of trends in key components of human development over the past 40 year. In that regard, it was acknowledged that the past twenty years have seen substantial progress in many aspects of human development.
However, “Yet, not all sides of the story are positive,” posited the report.
As if to confirm that, despite the favourable commendation of Botswana’s improved human development record, it has emerged from the same report that the health related component of life expectancy, has experienced a sharp fall from 65.3 years in 1991 to about 55.5 years in 2010.
Marx Garekwe, UNDP Public Affairs and Communications Specialist, told the Sunday Standard, that this year’s human development report entitled, “The real wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development,” served to commemorate the 20th year of publication since the inception in 1990 of the Human Development Report.
“In keeping with the HDR’s 20 year tradition, HDR 2010 presents an agenda setting data and analysis on an issue of great relevance to the contemporary discourse, ‘the real wealth of nations,” said Garekwe.
He further pointed out it was expected that the analysis makes the case that it was imperative for countries to attain their Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target. Like previous HDRs the current edition focuses on a contemporary development issue, and provides new perspectives and real options for policy makers.
From the point of view that the people are the real wealth of a nation, the first HDR, when it was launched in 1990, initiated what generally was perceived as forceful case for a new approach to thinking about development; “to create an enabling environment for people to live long, healthy and creative lives”.