South Africa has improved its position on the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) Human Development Index released today in New York. South Africa is considered a medium development country and was ranked 110 (out of 169) in the latest report. This was a marginal improvement from 129 (out of 189) year-on-year.
The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of “human development” and separates developed (high development), developing (middle development), and underdeveloped (low development) countries in three broad areas covering life expectancy, education and per-capita GDP (as an indicator of standard of living).
“While Brand South Africa works to lift the profile of South Africa’s global competitiveness around the world, it is always mindful of the broader reputation drivers and the context these bring to a purely investment driven conversation by our stakeholders. Reports like the HDI are important in this light, not just because they inform reputation, but also because they inform perceptions of future investment potential for our country in terms of a healthy and educated work force capable of a high level of productivity,” said Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola.
South Africa’s overall HDI score experienced gradual improvements between 1990 and 2005. Since 2005, its overall score has remained stable and continues to trend in line with the global average. “South Africa ranks eighth out of the broader Sub-Saharan region, behind that of Tunisia, Libya, Botswana, Algeria, Gabon and Namibia. However, South Africa performs well in the region when assessing the levels of multidimensional poverty, where it is scored the best,” he said.
Multidimensional poverty is a measure of serious deprivations in the dimensions of health, education and living standards that combines the number of deprived with the intensity of their deprivation. In Sub-Saharan Africa South Africa has 3% of its population living in some form of deprivational poverty relative to a country like Niger which has 93%.
Among emerging markets which make up the BRIC structures, South Africa performed ahead of India (ranked 119) and behind Brazil (73), Russia (65) and China (89). “It is important to contextualize South Africa’s development alongside other emerging markets to ensure that not only our economic growth but our people dimensions are enhanced at a similar rate to other comparable nations,” said Miller Matola.