Zambia’s Progress Laudable

ZAMBIA’S record of an excellent progress in human development as espoused by the 2014 Human Development Report is encouraging, if not heart-warming.
It is indeed noteworthy that the country has moved up from a pack of over 75 per cent of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that still fall in the low human development bracket.
It now falls under the medium human development category.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Human Development Report (HDR) in Zambia, which was launched yesterday, indeed tells a story of some excellent progress for the Southern African country.
The country’s 26-slot improvement from number 167 last year to 141, out of the 187 countries, which has enabled it to escape the low human development category, is a life-size milestone.
This, notably, sets the country ahead of Kenya which stands at 147 and just behind Congo Brazzaville at 140.
It is also paradoxical in that while Zambia has recorded that achievement, on average, the SSA region has recorded a human development index of 0.502 falling far short of the global average of 0.702.
It is further elating to note that the measured improvement is mainly as a result of an increase in the life expectancy at birth.
This could be attributed to various measures the Government and other stakeholders have come up with to improve ways of fighting child mortality in the country.
There has also been notable improvement in the education indices, obviously, as a result of massive investments which have gone into educational facilities as well as the programmes aimed at encouraging children, more so girls, to go to school.
Coupled with the mass recruitment of teachers which has been witnessed in the last few years and the increase in the number of private schools countrywide, this could be the reason for the rise in the education indices.
Another contributor to Zambia’s splendid overall performance in human development is the rise in the Gross National Income per capita – which is the amount of income an individual citizen would get if the total national wealth was to be shared equally among all 14 million-plus citizens.
This of course does not necessarily mean that every citizen’s income has increased, it is just an average which only becomes sad if the rich are becoming richer and the poor poorer.
Yes, we are mindful of the fact that the Gross National Income per capita does not tell the story of which category of individuals has recorded an improvement – whether the one consisting of the rich or the opposite one.
It is, however, every Government’s preoccupation to always find ways of trying to bridge the gap between the two categories, as much as the country will always have the poor people.
We are, therefore, happy to observe that this year’s report is focusing on vulnerability and proposes ways of strengthening resilience.
We further agree with the UNDP that persistent vulnerability threatens human development, hence the need for the Government to continue ensuring that no one is left behind in terms of its development agenda.
In the main and simply deduced from the report, on average, Zambians are today better than they were last year in terms of human development.
The onus is now on the leaders to find ways of trying to redistribute that average improvement in human development to all the citizens of Zambia, to ensure that no one is trapped in poverty.
On the other hand, those wallowing in abject poverty should always find ways of appropriating for themselves these benefits of development as opposed to just idling around waiting for handouts.

 
Source : The Times of Zambia

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