Tuesday, December 14, 2010


life expectancy increased by about 10 years between 1980 and 2010

LILONGWE, 9 November 2010 –Malawians have all reasons to smile following revelations by the 20th anniversary edition of the Human Development Report that life expectancy at birth increased by about 10 years between 1980 and 2010 The 2010 Report, The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development was co- launched today with the National Human Development Report Gender and Human Development in Malawi: Women and the Potential of Achieving the MDGs at Capital Hotel in Lilongwe by UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Richard Dictus and Minister of Gender, Children and Community Development, Honourable Theresa Gloria Mwale M.P.

Malawi is ranked 153 out 169 countries for which accurate and comparable data is available. The report reveals that Malawi just like other developing countries has made significant improvements in key Human Development index (HDI) indicators such education, health and standard of living.

The Human Development Report is the UNDP’s flagship publication that aims at framing debate on some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity. The 2010 Report examines progress in health, education and income over the past 40 years. The first Human Development Report released in 1990 and stated that people are the real wealth of nations.

Country ranking changes in the HDI are now reported over a five-year comparative period, rather than on a year-to-year basis, to better reflect long-term development trends. Due to methodological refinements of the HDI formula, the 2010 rankings are not directly comparable to those in earlier Reports

The 20th edition of the Human Development Report also introduces three new innovative measurements, the Inequality -adjusted HDI, the Gender Inequality Index and the Multidimensional Poverty Index complimenting the Report’s traditional Human Development Index (HDI).

The Inequality- adjusted HDI reduces national HDI values by the degree of inequalities in health, standards of living and distribution of income. The gender inequality index factors in women’s participation in government and the workforce as well as health and education status to reflect disparities between men and women within and across countries, while the Multidimensional Poverty Index identifies overlapping deprivations at the household level-including health, schooling and living conditions and calculates that fully a third of the people in the 104 countries studied live in extreme multidimensional poverty.

For example in the 2010 Report In education, expected years of schooling for school age children replaces gross enrolment, and average years of schooling in the adult population replaces adult literacy rates, to provide a fuller picture of education levels. Life expectancy remains the main indicator for health.

“Between 1980 and 2010, Malawi’s life expectancy at birth increased by about 10 years, mean years of schooling increased by almost 3 years and expected years of schooling increased by about 4 years. Malawi’s GNI per capita increased by 21 percent during the same period,”

“Between 1980 and 2010, Malawi’s HDI value increased from 0.258 to 0.385, an average of 49 percent or average annual increase of about 1.3 percent. With such an increase, Malawi is ranked 20 in terms of HDI improvement based on deviation from fit,” reads the report in part.

Malawi is one of the success stories in combating major diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The country has managed to reduce the HIV prevalence, introduced the free Anti retroviral therapy (ART), and embarked on prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. Malawi has also been recognized for bumper harvests. These and other factors have largely contributed to improved and prolonged life of Malawians.

Jeni Klugman, the lead author of the 2010 report said: “Our results confirm, with new data and analysis, two central contentions to the Human Development Report from the outset; human development is different from economic growth and substantial achievements are possible even without fast growth.”

According to latest figures from the Ministry of Finance, Malawi has experienced steady economic growth since 2004. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has averaged 8.2 percent per year. In the next two years, GDP growth is expected to grow by 7.1 percent this year and 6.8 in 2011. There has been a drop in poverty headcount over the same period from 52.4 percent in 2005 to 40 percent.

“UNDP is proud to be associated with the various achievements in Malawi. As a neutral and trusted broker, UNDP has provided up stream policy support to the Government of Malawi which has partly contributed to the various successes,” Commented Mr. Dictus

Through the 50:50 campaign, UNDP and other development partners supported female candidates in the 2009 Presidential and Parliamentary elections that saw the number of women parliamentarians increase from about 13 percent to 24 percent. However, the report says Malawi’s Gender Inequality Index value is at 0.758, ranking the country at 126 out of 138 countries based on 2008 data.

The introduction of the Gender Inequality Index in the 2010 Human Development Report is timely as the 2010 National Human Development Report for Malawi focuses on gender issues.

The report entitled Gender and Human Development in Malawi, Women and the Potential of Achieving the MDG focuses on women and makes comparison with men in the context of overall human development. It also explores the links between microeconomic and other development policies and their differentiated impact on women and men. The report also analyzes the impact (economic, social and other) of gender inequality on the human development situation in Malawi

“Malawi has proved at international level that policies that speak to lived realities may initially be viewed as defying prescribed western models for economic growth, but that they can work based on local situations and with country-based opportunities. This, combined with engagement, commitment and the political will to enforce agreed change should be applied in the quest for gender equality,” reads the report in part.

Commenting on the National Human Development Report, Mr. Dictus said “the Report highlights that human development cannot take place in Malawi when the opportunities of more than half of the population comprising women and girls are restricted. The approach to addressing gender inequality in Malawi needs to recognise and draw upon matriarchal lineage. This requires a home-grown, community driven, local–national approach in preference to an external patriarchal set of perceived solutions,”

Commenting on the two reports, the Minister of Gender, Children and Community Development Honourable Theresa Gloria Mwale said that the themes for both the Human Development Report 2010 and the National Human Development report were relevant to Malawi.

She said therefore the significance of the Human Development reports cannot be over emphasized, adding that human development is central and a prerequisite to rural, national and global development

“The Report will go a long way helping nations including Malawi to reposition them in order to improve the present situation of their people. It is indeed imperative to recognize and respond to new threats that endanger human well being and freedom as the Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen wrote,” she said

Regarding the National Human Development Report, Honourable Mwale said that the Government of Malawi recognizes that development can effectively take place when gender issues are mainstreamed into national policies. “Gender is a cross-cutting issue as it affects any development efforts. For instance, unless challenges of girl child education are addressed, most managerial positions will still be held by men because there will be few educated women due to high drop outs of girls in school. In this respect, gender mainstreaming should be at the hub of every intervention aimed at meeting the targets of all the Millennium Development Goals by the year 2015, “she said

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For information, contact Zainah Liwanda, UNDP Communications Associate on zainah.liwanda@undp.org This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or 01 773 500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01 773 500 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. The complete Press Kit for the global launch of the 20th edition of the HDR is available on www.hdr.undp.org

ABOUT THE 2010 HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT: Since inception in 1990, the Human Development Report has provided fresh insights into some of the pressing challenges facing humanity. The Human Development Report is an independent annual publication of the United Nations Development Programme. Jeni Klugman is the lead author of the 2010 Report which is translated in more than a dozen languages and launched in more than 100 countries annually. The Report is published in English by Palgrave Macmillan. Complete texts of the 2010 report and previous Reports since 1990 are available for free downloading in UN major languages on the report website http://hdr.undp.org

ABOUT HUMAN DEVELOPMENT: Human Development is the expansion of freedoms that people have to live their lives as they choose. The conception-inspired by the path-breaking work of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and the leadership of the late Mahbub ul Haq, and known also as the capabilities approach because of its emphasis on the freedom that people have to achieve vital beings and doings’- has been at the core of UNDPs approach since the first Human Development Report in 1990, and is as relevant as ever to the design of effective policies to combat poverty and deprivation. This approach has proved powerful in reshaping thinking about topics as diverse as gender, human security and climate change

ABOUT THE 2010 NATIONAL HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT Gender inequality is one of the biggest challenges facing Malawi today, impeding on the development of the country at large and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).Women constitute about 52 percent of the population of Malawi. Women are the child-bearers and sustainers of the family. They are significant contributors to the country’s economy, comprising the main agricultural labour force. Women are disadvantaged compared to men in almost every sphere of their lives and in every sector of development. This leads to women’s poor access to the benefits of even their contribution to development. Human development can only reach its full potential if the opportunities of women and girls are opened up. For the country to meet its national development goals and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets by 2015, the challenge is to place gender equality at the centre of the development agenda; to incorporate gender issues at the core of development analysis, plans and programmes. This Fifth Human Development Report 2010 for Malawi is unique as it focuses on gender throughout the MDGs, giving substantial analysis of the gender-based obstacles and barriers to the achievement of MDGs and also giving clear recommendations on how these can be overcome

ABOUT UNDP: UNDP is the UN’s global network to help people meet their development needs and build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries working as a trusted partner with governments, civil society and the private sector to help them build their own solutions to global and national development challenges. Further information can be found at http:/www.undp.org/

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