Mozambique’s Human Development Index value increased by 60 per cent over three decades
Between 1980 and 2013, Mozambique’s Human Development Index value (HDI) rose from 0.246 to 0.393, positioning the country at 178 out of 187 countries and territories.
While the country is in the low human development category, this increase represents real progress. Specifically, Mozambique’s life expectancy at birth has increased by 7.4 years, mean years of schooling of adult population have increased by 2.5 years and expected years of schooling for children increased by 4.7 years. The country has also advanced economically in that time, with its national income (GNI) per capita increasing by about 70 percent between 1980 and 2013. However, as the reports points out, more needs to be done to increase resilience of the communities in order to protect gains made in advancing human progress.
Speaking at the Mozambique launch ceremony of the UNDP Global Human Development Report in Maputo, on July 24, Mozambique Minister of Science and Technology, Louis Pelembe, said: “We are very encouraged by the steady progress the country is making”.
Minister Pelembe added that the HDR is a fundamental tool that analyses themes relating to human development progress in depth, identifying the challenges and also suggesting solutions.
“As a Government, we are committed to use the lessons of the Human Development Report 2014, to guide the choices of our development options, and to enhance and protect the human development gains we have made”, the Minister explained, adding that “All policy makers, academics and civil society should reflect on the report and use it to advance the living standards of our country”.
The ceremony was attended by several Mozambique government officials, diplomats, representatives of UN agencies, civil society organizations, and academics, among others.
UNDP Resident Representative and UN Resident Coordinator, Jennifer Topping congratulated Mozambique for its rise in the Human Development Index and pointed out that the country’s growth rate of 2,4 % since 2000 makes it one of best performer in Africa.
Speaking about the central theme of the HDR this year, Ms Topping highlighted how progress since the first launch has been both positive and significant, following advances in technology, access to education and health services and higher income, reflecting more satisfying and more secure lives.
However, the report also notes that threats such as the financial crisis, fluctuations in food prices, natural disasters and violent conflicts cause loss of lives and jeopardized sources of livelihood hampering human development.
“These are not inevitable adversities.” Ms. Topping continued, “Although all societies are vulnerable to the risk, when disasters occur, some suffer less than others and demonstrate an ability to rebuild faster. The report questions why this is the case.”
On this theme, the report addresses social protection, life cycle vulnerability and the importance of responsive institutions. Mozambique has made significant progress in several of these areas. In particular, it was noted that advances have been made in relation to social protection and the expansion of a social protection network.
Ms. Topping said that she was “pleased to note that the UN system has worked in collaboration with the Government and partners in strengthening the national social protection floor.” She highlighted how the report clearly demonstrates the need to expand these programs to ensure the development of sustainable human progress and economic resilience.
The well-attended HDR launch had commentaries from an academic, an economist and a journalist on what the report meant for Mozambique. There was also an enthusiastic debate in plenary touching on the various aspects of human development raised by the report.