Rwanda has taken great development strides since 2000, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Index (HDI) report.
The global survey unveiled on Friday in Mexico City by the UNDP, is part of the Human Development Report that is presented annually and measures life expectancy, income and education, in countries around the world.
The report, titled “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World” shows the African region as having the second highest growth after South Asia over the past ten years.
Rwanda scored 0.434 in human development index and ranked 76 out of 187 countries in the promotion of gender equity.
Norway, the highest development achiever scored 0.955 followed by Australia on the second position 0.938 and United States third with 0.937.
The report argues that the advances are best achieved in countries with strong leadership, openness to trade and a focus on innovative social policies.
According to the report, Rwanda , Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Sierra Leone, Tanzania are among the countries that made the greatest strides in HDI improvement since 2000.
“Rwanda has achieved high performance in the HDI report, the annual growth is 2.73 and it’s consistent with the household survey where the poverty levels declined from 57 percent to 44.9 percent. The poverty levels declined because of the heavy investment in various sectors of our economy,” Amb Claver Gatete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning told The Sunday Times yesterday.
“Looking at how we are doing in terms of annual average growth of 2.73, we are way above the sub-Saharan average which is 1.34 since 2000.”
The report shows that more than 40 developing countries have made greater human development gains in recent decades than would have been predicted.
The data indicates that life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa has surged by 5.5 years between 2000 and 2012, to 55, having stagnated between 1990 and 2000 mainly because of the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
“Fourteen countries recorded impressive HDI gains of more than two percent annually since 2000 and they include Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Angola, Timor-Leste, Myanmar, Tanzania, Liberia, Burundi, Mali, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Niger,” the report says.
“Most are low-HDI African countries, with many emerging from long periods of armed conflict but all have made significant recent progress in school attendance, life expectancy and per capita income growth.”
While the HDI celebrate improvements across the developing world, a hard fact remains that 24 out of the 25 lowest ranked countries are on the African continent.
“Africa has achieved sustained rates of economic growth at a time of great involvement with emerging economies,” says Tegegnework Gettu, Regional Director of UNDP for Africa.
“But progress has been broad-based, with strong improvements in other dimensions of human development such as health and education”.
Developing countries now hold two thirds of the world’s total $10.2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, including more than $3 trillion in China alone, and about three quarters of the $4.3 trillion in assets controlled by sovereign wealth funds worldwide. Even a small share of these vast sums could have a swift measurable impact on global poverty and human development, the survey says.
“Promoting greater equity is not only an important goal in its own right: it is also central to lifting human development. One of the most powerful policy instruments for promoting equity lies in education. Much can be learned from the success of the emerging economies of the South, which have used their growing economic strength to lift human development,” the UNDP Administrator,Helen Clark, said in a statement.
According to Rwanda’s growth highlights of the year 2012, the country’s economy grew by 7.7 percent mainly as a result of good yields in the service and industry sectors.
Deaths of children under the age of five have fallen from 152 of every 1000 in 2005 to 54. Maternal mortality has dropped from 750 of every 100,000 in 2005 to 134, while the number of deaths caused by malaria reduced greatly, from 54 percent in 2005 to 6 percent.
Poverty in Rwanda dropped by 11.8 percent since 2006, a reduction rate six times faster than what the country achieved between 2000 and 2006, according to the third Integrated Household Living Conditions Survey released last year during the launch of the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).