UNDP resident representative hails Malawi’s five step rise on Human Development Index

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative for Malawi, Shigeki Komatsubara, has said Malawi needs to cherish the five steps it has moved up on the 2021-22 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI), considering that “almost every country regressed” over the past two years due to Covid-19 pandemic, among other challenges.

Malawi has moved from position 174 out of 189 countries to position 169 out of 191 countries, according to the HDI report, which was presented Friday in Lilongwe.

Shigeki Komatsubara

The report titled ‘Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping our Future in a Transforming World’, has attributed Malawi’s rise to improved income purchasing power parity (PPP) from $1,080 in 2020 to $1,466 in 2021.

Commenting on the development, Komatsubara said the rise, though not enough, demonstrates that Malawi “is trying and remarkably resilient to challenges affecting the World”.

“All I can say is keep moving forward. Invest in the future of Malawi. Invest in human resources and health well-being of the people. Have an effective state of preparedness for any risks. Have innovations and initiatives that can propel the nation forward amid challenges of forex, among others,” Komatsubara said.

The report has given Malawi an HDI score of 0.514 as compared to a value of 0.483 in 2020.

According to the report, Malawi has registered a regression in the life expectancy from 64.9 years in 2020 to 62.9 years in 2021 as well as a reduction in the mean years of being in school from 6.1 years in 2020 to 4.5 years in 2021.

The HDI was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone.

HDI is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development; a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and having a decent standard of living.

According to the report, uncertainties from Malawian perspective include; covid-19, cyclones, Russia and Ukraine conflicts, supply chain disruptions which caused upsurge in energy and commodity prices and high transport costs. Others are persistent forex shortages and fuel supply disruptions.

However, the report says there is growing opportunity in uncertainty and urges countries like Malawi to adopt change and positive narrative in the way they want to develop their countries.

Among other important things, the report suggests adoption of policies that focus on investments, insurance and innovations that will enable people to thrive in the face of uncertainty.

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