The Human Development Index (HDI) is an index created by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to measure the level and quality of life of populations within a country. The calculation of the HDI takes into account three main variables: Life expectancy at birth, the average number of years of study followed by an adult and national wealth per capita. Published annually for the period N-1 * The HDI provides an overview of the quality of life on the planet, country by country. How are African countries classified? Which ones stand out?
Libya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tunisia and Algeria champions of the HDI in Africa
This may be surprising but it is true. The African country with the best HDI in 2013 is Libya, yet shaken by armed conflict. With an index of 0.784, Libya ahead of Mauritius (0771), Seychelles (0756), Tunisia (0721) and Algeria (0717). Long undisputed leader in the African HDI ranking during the former regime, Libya continues to decline as prolonged civil war. In the single year 2013, Libya has lost 5 places overall and its HDI fell 5 points.
Top 5 countries in Africa are distinguished by their good performance on the 3 incoming parameters in calculating the HDI. Thus they have:
- Life expectancy at birth between 71 and 76 years, well above the continental average life expectancy, which was 60 years in 2013;
- An average study duration between 6.5 years and 9.4 years Tunisia for Seychelles (the average length of studies on the continent was 4.8 years in 2013);
- A per capita gross national product (GNP / capita) relatively high (between 10 000 and $ 21,000 against $ 5,074 on average on the continent).
Regionally, the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), which includes Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Mauritania is the space that shows the highest HDI sub-regional (ie 0665). However, if the AMU was a country with the HDI does occupy the 132nd in the world ranking of 187 countries ranked.
The last 18 to HDI are African
African countries occupy the last 18 places in the ranking HDI, these countries among which are the Niger, DRC, Central Africa or the Ivory Coast are all ranked behind Afghanistan 171st. These countries are characterized by an average HDI of 0.396.
Besides the 3 parameters for calculating the HDI they show alarming levels:
- 55 years of average life expectancy;
- 2.8 Mean years of schooling observed in the general population;
- $ 1,322 on average per capita GNP.
At the regional level, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is the one that shows the lowest average HDI (0.450). So if ECOWAS were a country, it would occupy the 171st place in the HDI.
Below is the ranking of African countries according to their HDI:
Source: Mays Mouissi
* Analysis is based on the latest HDI ranking published by UNDP in 2014 and covering the year 2013.