Steady progress in human development cannot be achieved if half of the world’s population is bypassed, says the 2016 Global Human Development Report (GHDR). The Report was jointly launched by the Development Secretary in the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, and the UNDP Resident Representative, on March 30, in Freetown.
The Report, titled Human Development for Everyone, which was jointly launched globally by the UNDP Administrator and the Prime Minister of Sweden in Stockholm on Tuesday 21 March shows the unparalleled human development progress over the past 25 years, but says millions have not benefitted from the gains.
The report focuses broadly on the richness of human lives rather than narrowly on the strength of economies, highlights the imbalances across countries: socio-economic, ethnic and racial groups; urban and rural areas; and women and men. It explores who has been left behind, why they have been left out and the urgent steps to bring these groups on board.
The Report also stresses that millions of people are unable to reach their full potential in life because they suffer deprivations in multiple dimensions of human development. According to the Report, Sierra Leone’s ranking in Human Development Index, which measures progress in long and healthy life, knowledge and decent standard of living, declined from 176 in 2014 to 179 out of the 188 countries and territories in 2015.
Development Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, John Sumailah, said Sierra Leone’s decline in Human Development Index was greatly influenced by the EVD outbreak and the fall in the international price of iron ore. He stressed the Government’s commitment in addressing the recommendations raised in the report to ensure human development reaches every Sierra Leonean.
The UNDP Resident Representative, Sunil Saigal, said the 2016 Human Development Report follows the first year of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the theme of this year’s report was drawn from and built on the SDGs.
Sierra Leone’s gender inequality remains very high
The Human Development Report argues that to ensure human development for everyone, merely mapping of the nature and locations of deprivations is inadequate. Deeper analysis is required, including core human development aspects, such as human rights and human security, voice and participation, collective capabilities and interdependency of choices.
The UNDP Economic Advisor, Moses Sichei, while summarizing the findings of the Report, stressed that despite the country’s declined in HDI, live expectancy at birth improved from 50.9 years in 2014 to 51.3 years in 2015. Expected years of schooling and mean year of schooling stuck at 9.5 and 3.3, respectively over the same period. However, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Growth slowed from 4.6 percent in 2014 to negative 21,1 percent in 2015 implying a corresponding decline in the Gross National income per capita from US $ 1,960 to US $ 1,529 over the same period.
Sierra Leone’s gender inequality remains very high. The female HDI value for Sierra Leone is 0.392 in contrast with 0.451 for males, resulting in a GDI value of 0.871 which is one of the lowest in the world.
Multi-dimensional poverty which measures multiple deprivations in a household in education, health and living standards, that goes beyond the monetary aspects of people’s lives, shows that 77.5 percent of Sierra Leonean are multi-dimensionally poor.
Vice Chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, Professor Ekundayo Thompson, said that action towards achieving a human development for all should be accelerated across all sectors particularly on improving the education indicator.
“The latest global Human Development Report is a deafening alarm bell that as a country we need to revisit the education system and make a bold decision to improve on the level of its quality,” said Professor Thompson.
The launch was witnessed by representatives of government ministries, departments and agencies, ambassadors, high commissioners, parliamentarians, development partners, policy-makers, gender activists, academicians, media, civil society and officials of the United Nations.