Human development in Sub Saharan Africa leaves behind some groups-UNDP report
Gender inequality remains a serious challenge to human development in the Africa.
Women, girls, people living in rural areas, migrants, refugees and those in conflict-affected areas are systematically left behind.
According to the Human Development Report 2016, entitled ‘Human Development for Everyone’, The report notes that in almost every country, some groups are disadvantaged than others, exacerbating levels of vulnerability, and widening the inequality gap across generations.
The report warns that the gaps are set to widen unless deep-rooted development barriers are urgently addressed.
Women and girls, rural dwellers, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees are among those systematically excluded with fewer opportunities than others. For example, while women in sub-Saharan Africa tend to live longer, they also tend to be poorer, earn less, and have fewer opportunities in most aspects of life than their male counterparts.
The report indicates that the HDI for women in the region is 0.488 (classified as low human development) while that of men is 0.557 (medium human development). On average, the region loses an estimated US$95 billion annually to women’s lower participation in the paid labour force. In 2014, that figure soared as high as $105 billion.
At the global level, the report also notes that, while gender disparities are slowly narrowing longstanding patterns of exclusion, harmful practices such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage continue to hurt women and girls. Moreover, in 100 countries, women are legally excluded from some jobs because of their gender, and in 18 countries, women need their husband’s approval to work.
The report launched today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015.
The report further notes that about a third of children under the age of five are malnourished and affected by stunting.
“The human development journey has bypassed specific groups that face systemic barriers to overcoming deprivations. It is essential to know who is suffering, where and how,” said the report’s lead author and Director of the Human Development Report Office Selim Jahan, speaking at the presentation of the report today in Nairobi.
In addition to women and girls, rural populations also suffer deprivations both overt and hidden. In sub-Saharan Africa, 74 percent of those living in rural areas live in multi-dimensional poverty – reflecting acute deprivation in health, education and standards of living – versus 31 percent of those living in urban areas, where the poor tend to be isolated, living in slums with lower access to services.