NEWS 2005


UN Finds Botswana's Human Development Lacking

Mmegi/The Reporter (Gaborone)

September 13, 2005

Joel Konopo

Botswana is lagging behind in human development in a world in which inequalities are a barrier to growth, a UN report on human development says.

Among 177 countries included in the report, Botswana ranks 131st, according to the UN human development index (HDI).

Presenting the 372 page "Human Development Report 2005" of the UN development

Programme, UNDP resident representative, Bjorn Foerde said Botswana's human development has fared badly in the past 15 years with ever increasing inequalities.

Based on the HDI, Botswana continues to experience difficulties in the human development sector, falling 21 places in HDI rankings between 1990 and 2003. The report includes fundamental indices such as life expectancy, income disparities and education. Life expectancy has also fallen drastically in the past 20 years, laments the report.

"Life expectancy has fallen by 31 years since 1985," reads the report. The report indicates that Botswana life expectancy currently stands at 36 years.

While the report noted that inequality is a barrier to development, it also indicated that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has inflicted the greatest reversal in human development.

Out of the global total of 38 million people affected by HIV/AIDS, about 25 million are in the sub-Saharan Africa region with few patients receiving anti-retroviral treatment.

The report projects a sorry picture for the future of the people of Sub-Saharan Africa indicating that by 2015, there will be more people living below the bread line, that is below Pula 5.38 a day.

The region will continue registering higher levels of inequalities. "Sub-Saharan Africa needs an annual five (5) percent growth rate of income per capita for 10 years to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving poverty," the report says.

On development aid, the report says rich countries have been doing a lot of talking and less action has been taken so far to reduce third world poverty.

"Since 1990, increased prosperity in rich countries has done little to enhance generosity: per capita income has increased by US$ 6,070 - about P 26.59 - while per capita aid has fallen by one US dollar (about P 5.38),"says the report.

The report also says that such figures suggest that the winners of globalisation have not prioritised help for the losers, even though they would gain from doing so.

Scandinavia's Norway once more scooped the first position with Niger at the tail end in HDI rankings.