Zim second-last in Development Index

The United Nations Development Programme released this week painted a grim picture of Zimbabwe’s socioeconomic woes as it ranked the country second-lowest in its annual Human Development Index.

At 173, Zimbabwe is ranked only higher than Ethiopia. UNDP said the Southern African country fared badly in such areas as poverty reduction and gender equality.

The HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide. It is a standard means of measuring well-being, especially child welfare. It is used to distinguish whether the country is a developed, a developing or an under-developed country, and also to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life.

Despite the formation of an inclusive government, Zimbabwe still faces a myriad of problems. Among these are unemployment, which is estimated at 90 percent, and a subsequent rise in poverty levels.

The UNDP released the 2011 Human Development Report ahead of the weekend. It shows how the world’s most disadvantaged people suffer the most from environmental degradation, including in their immediate personal environment. They also disproportionately lack political power, making it all the harder for the world community to reach agreement on needed global policy changes.

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