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Inequality threatening human development, new global report warns

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As Africa makes significant progress
A new report released yesterday by the United Nations (UN) Development Programme (UNDP) has revealed that in spite of global progress in tackling poverty, hunger and diseases, new inequalities are emerging in many societies. 

The 2019 Human Development Report (HDR) stated that just as the gap in basic living standards was narrowing for millions of people, inequalities in education, technology and climate change have caused protests globally. 
It warned that if left unchecked, they could trigger a ‘new great divergence’ in societies of the kind not seen since the Industrial Revolution, undermine further progress and make it harder for those already behind to catch up.

But the report showed that African countries made significant strides in advancing human development, gaining ground on primary education and health.

“Africa has experienced one of the most significant improvements in human development. Between 1990 and 2018, life expectancy increased by more than 11 years. Yet significant challenges remain.

“African countries find themselves at a crossroads, facing the dual challenge of ensuring that those furthest behind make progress with the basics, while paving the way for those further ahead to keep pace with the emerging requirements of today’s world.

“This Human Development Report sets out how systemic inequalities are deeply damaging our society and why,” UNDP’s Administrator, Achim Steiner said. 
 
He added that, “Recognising the real face of inequality is a first step; what happens next is a choice that each leader must make.  Inequality is not beyond solutions.” 

The human development approach views “richness” as going beyond the idea that economic growth will automatically lead to development and wellbeing. It focuses on people, their opportunities and choices.   

The UNDP research also showed that in 2018, 20 per cent of human development progress was lost due to  unequal distribution of education, health and living standards. 


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