Sierra Leone has again slammed the bottom rung of the United Nations Human Development Index (UNHDI).
Out of the 177 countries that were ranked this year, Sierra Leone hits the 177th position moving a step downwards as to last year’s ranking when the country made a snail-limp and was ranked second to last while Niger being last by then.
This year’s report: “Fighting climate change: Human solidarity in a divided world,” focuses on climate change, which is the greatest challenge facing humanity at the start of the 21st Century as failure to meet this challenge raises the specter of unprecedented reversals in human development.
In his statement during the launch of this year’s HDI report at the Miattia Conference hall, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s country director, Bernard Mokam said, “the Human Development Report of every year has been used to enrich and intensify both national and global debate on development issues, and in particular, serving as an instrument of advocacy by the UNDP for sustainable human development.”
He continued, “it is encouraging to know that the increased advocacy for the human being as the centre of development is gradually yielding good dividend at the global level.”
This year’s report, Mr Mokam said, “indicates that much progress has been made in human development in a number of areas.
He explained that population living in extreme poverty had steadily declined from 29% in 1990 to 23% in 1999, adding that primary school enrolments had risen from 80% in 1990 to 84% in 1998, while 800 million people had gained access to improved water supplies.
He noted that 750 million had gained access to improved sanitation as “there have been great improvements in political and civil rights. 81 countries have taken significant steps in democratization, and 33 military regimes have been replaced by civilian governments.”
The country director explained that, “in this year’s Global Human Development Report (GHDR), Sierra Leone’s human development index based on 2005 data is 0.336 which is greater than the 2004 index of 0.333.”
“Life expectancy at birth increased by around three years over the last fifteen years (1990-2005), GDP per capita declined by 13% to $806, and the gross enrolment ratio grew by 16 percentage points to 44.6%.,” he said.
Because of lack of adult literacy trend data, Mr Mokam continued, “the HDI trends for Sierra Leone were not calculated.” He appealed to President Ernest Bai Koroma and his government to put some emphasis on data management in the country.
One of the reasons for Sierra Leone’s last position in the Human Development Index, he disclosed, “I’m sure is the unavailability of (reliable) data on the country. However, we must all work harder to lift Sierra Leone from the bottom.”