Deputy Minister of Finance launches UNDP Human Development Report 2011 in Freetown

14 Nov 2011

image Deputy Minister of Finance launches UNDP's 2011 Human Development Report in Freetown (UNDP/ C. Thomas)

The Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development Hon Alhaji  Foday Mansaray, has launched the Human Development Report 2011, at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone in Freetown on Friday 11th November, 2011.

Attended by other Government officials, academics, students, civil society activists and theatre artistes, the minister said that this year’s title, Sustainability and Equity – A Better Future For All, cannot be more timely.  He added that Sierra Leone’s HDI value is 0.336 positioning Sierra Leone at 180 out of 187, however, when the value is discounted for inequality, the HDI falls to 0.196, a loss of 41.6 per cent.

Hon Alhaji Mansaray added that even though Sierra Leone has made steady progress over the years in the overall Human Development Index, gender Inequality in the country remains high with Sierra Leone ranked 141 out of 183.

“In this regard Government will intensify efforts to address inequality. A social protection policy has already been drafted to address inequality, improve the income of poor families, the unemployed and old people”

The minister added “to address inequality in Gender, Government is committed to the empowerment and will pass the 30% quota for women in decision making, to enhance female participation in politics”

Professor Ekundayor Thompson, Acting Vice Chancellor who also chaired the ceremony said that the launch is happening at a time of tremendous global and national challenge, especially relating to environment and climate change.

Professor Thompson added that the HDR reports since the first one in 1990 continue to be reliable source of information. “…The annual league table of human development” has been particularly fascinating whilst the vast array of topics covered, ranging from gender, migration, to human security and access to water have been equally illuminating and relevant

He added that through the annual Human Development Report, we have a reliable yardstick to measure human development. He stated further that HDRs have also successfully put the idea of human development, once a marginal concept in development thinking at the heart of current discourse on development thinking i.e. putting people at the centre of development.

UNDP Deputy Country Director, Mohamed Abchir, said that the 2011 report addresses a central challenge of the twenty-first century- achieving two inter-related concepts: equity and environmental sustainability.

He added,  “Recent human development trends in Africa have been good but climate change presents significant risks for further progress. It is encouraging that the Report projects that, if recent positive regional human development trends continue, sub-Saharan Africa’s average human Development Index (HDI) rating would rise by an estimated 44% by 2050. However, the likely occurrence of environmental disasters (severe water and air pollution), and climate change would reduce this regional HDI by 12 % by mid-century. Thus, fighting climate change and inequalities is key to progress in human development around the world and in Africa, in particular.”

Mr. Abchir maintained that this year’s report also shows that failure to reduce the risks of inequality and environmental degradation would result in a slowdown of decades of sustained progress by the world’s poor, adding that financing for environmental and social protection needs to increase.

Mohamed Abchir concluded that it is encouraging that Sierra Leone has been making steady progress in human development adding: “ Life expectancy, one of the components of the human development index, showed the strongest improvement from 39.8 years in 2000 to 47.8 years in 2011. There was also improvement in the gross national income per capita from US$ 395 in 2000 to US$ 737 in 2011.

The annual Human Development Report is an editorially independent publication of the United Nations Development Programme. For free downloads of the 2011 Human Development Report in ten languages, plus additional reference materials on its indices and specific regional implications, please visit: http://hdr.undp.org.

Contact Information

Abdul Karim Bah, Communications Analyst, UNDP Sierra Leone. Tel: + 232 33 167 428. Email: abdul-karim.bah@undp.org