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#178: Haiti and Human Development (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

The United States Development Programme (UNDP)

just published its "Human Development Report 1999."

The concept of human development is much deeper than 

can be captured by any composite index or even a detailed 

set  of statistical indicators. 

Yet to monitor progress in human development, a simple tool

is needed. Thus, the Human Development Index (HDI)

 has been constructed every year since 1990 to measure 

average achievements in basic human development in one 

simple composite index and to produce a ranking of countries.

HDI reflects achievements in the most basic human capabilities:

leading a long life, being knowledgeable and enjoying a decent

standard of living. Three variables have been chosen to represent 

those dimensions: life expectancy, educational attainment and 


With normalization of the values of the variables that make up 

the HDI, its value ranges  from 0 to 1. The closer to 1 a country's HDI is, 

the better off the country is.

The HDI for selected countries (listed alphabetically) as well as their 

rank based on the HDI follow:

COUNTRY 		HDI (1997)	RANK out of 174 countries

Canada			0.932		1

Cuba 			0.765		58

Dominican Republic		0.726		88

Guyana			0.701		99

Haiti			0.430		152

India			0.545		132

Jamaica			0.734		82

Nigeria			0.456		146

Sierra Leone		0.254		174 Last

Haiti's position improved somewhat from 1998 to 1999 due in large

part to the deterioration that has occurred in the 22 African countries

rank lower than Haiti.

For Haiti, the key factors from which its HDI is calculated are:

1) Life expectancy at birth: 53.7 years (1997)

2) Adult literacy rate: 45.8% (1997)

3) Combined first, second and third level gross enrollment ratio: 24 %

4) Real GDP per capita: 1,270  PPP$ (purchasing power parity basis, 1997)

What can be done to improve Haiti's HDI?

It would appear that items 1 and 2 can be improved in short order.

In the case of item 1, the key is the high rate of infant mortality at

currently 92 deaths per 1000 live births. In Cuba next door, the rate is 7.

Let us hope that with Cuban assistance, Haiti will be able to reduce its

to a more civilized level.

As for adult literacy, let us hope that by 2004 the rate will be increased

at least 90%. 

This will require the launching in short order of a massive literacy drive.

To help it with this endeavor, the Government of Haiti (GOH) might invite

UNDP -- as have done 100 countries to date -- to help it assess thoroughly 

Haiti's Human Development needs.

Is this asking too much of the GOH?