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Malawi ranks poorly on development index

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By Faith Kamtambe:

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) regional and country Human Development Indices (HDI) 2017 indicate that Malawi remains below average when it comes to human development in the sub-Saharan countries.

According to the report, Malawi is categorised in the low human development category, ranked 171 out of 189 countries and territories.

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The report says, as such, there is need for continuous efforts by the government to improve the livelihoods of Malawians.

“Malawi is categorised in the low human development category, with an HDI value of 0.477 and ranking 171 out of the 189 countries and territories. The country has moved from an HDI value of 0.477 in 2017, a very slight increase. This is an indication of the challenges ahead and the need for continuous efforts by the government and all stakeholders in Malawi,” a statement from UNDP reads.

The statement also indicates that on a positive note, between 1990 and 2017, Malawi’s HDI value increased by 40.2 percent, up from 0.340 to 0.477 but says the country, however, remains below the average of 0.504 for countries in the low human development group.

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According to the report, health has improved considerably.

“Today’s children in Malawi can expect to be in school for 5.4 years longer than those in 1990 and stay for 4.5 years on average than the 2.5 years reported in 1990. Despite this improvement, access to education in Malawi is mostly for primary schools and is still below the sub- Saharan average of 5.6 years,” the statement adds.

When it comes to gender, the report says Malawi is ranked 148 out of 160 countries in the 2017 index, other reasons being low representation of women in elected public offices.

“Only 16.7 percent of parliamentary seats are held by women against the African Union (AU’s) aspiration of ensuring [that] women occupy at least 50 percent of elected public officers,” the report says.

But Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe, said Malawi has improved tremendously compared to years back. He said Malawi cannot develop with a mindset that the country is not doing well.

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