Malawi moves five steps up on UNDP Human Development Index


Malawi has moved five steps up on the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Index from position 174 out of 189 countries in 2020 to position 169 out of 191 countries.

Malawi’s position is largely on the account of improvement on the income purchasing power parity from $1080 in 2020 to $1466 in 2021.

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 UNDP Human Development Report for 2021-2022 shows that although human development regressed globally for the past two years due to the impact of Covid-19, Malawi was resilient. Malawi was able to feel the effect of the pandemic but the country managed to make strides in human development.

In 2020, Malawi was ranked 174 out of 181 on human development index but in 2021 it is ranked 169 out of 191 countries.

The report is titled “Uncertain Times, Unsettled Lives: Shaping Our Future in a Transforming Word.

UNDP’s  Residence Representative to Malawi Shigeki Komatsubara noted that the rise shows that Malawi is trying and remarkably resilient to challenges affecting the world, the challenges being the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war and natural disasters that have thrown lives off balance and led to increased uncertainty.

According to Komatsubara, in the wake of the said challenges and rising crises, Malawi has potential to build resilience and turn the fortunes around.

“Our environment has got worse two years in a row and it hasn’t happened in the history of 30 years history of the Human Development Index. So you would understand why I am saying this is an unprecedented situation and Malawi was no exception because we are feeling the pinch, but at the same time if you take a look at how we are fairing it is actually very respectable because in terms of numbers we managed to move forward although not big enough but we are still inching forward. When 90 percent of countries in the world are going back we are still moving forward despite a very difficult situation,” explained Komatsubara.

He added that Malawi needs to start adopting policies that focus on investment, insurance and innovations that will enable people to thrive in the face of uncertainty.

“So this Human development index report gives us a hint on where we can make more differences, for example let us invest in human resources. Malawi may not have lots of natural resources but we have lots of good people we can we invest in education so that  all can start work together and produce more values from within. Secondly, this is a great opportunity to start doing things in a different way. Malawi is very famous in being innovative using digital innovation, actually it is saving a lot of money within Malawi,” said Komatsubara.

The Human Development Index (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. The HDI is the geometric mean of normalized indices for each of the three dimensions.

The health dimension is assessed by life expectancy at birth, the education dimension is measured by mean of years of schooling for adults aged 25 years and more and expected years of schooling for children of school entering age. The standard of living dimension is measured by gross national income per capita. The HDI uses the logarithm of income to reflect the diminishing importance of income with increasing GNI. The scores for the three HDI dimension indices are then aggregated into a composite index using geometric mean.

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