“Rise of South” potential for accelerating progress for future generation, says 2013 Human Development Report

Mar 21, 2013

The UNDP 2013 Human Development Report, “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”, was launched today in Zambia by the Vice President, His Honour Dr. Guy Scott. The new report places Zambia 163rd out of 187 countries on the HD ranking.

The rise of the South is radically reshaping the world of the 21st century, with developing nations driving economic growth, lifting hundreds of millions of people from poverty, and propelling billions more into a new global middle class, says the report. “The rise of the South is unprecedented in its speed and scale,” the 2013 Report says. “Never in history have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast.”

This phenomenon goes well beyond the so-called BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India and China. The Report shows that more than 40 developing countries have made greater human development gains in recent decades than would have been predicted. These achievements, it says, are largely attributable to sustained investment in education, health care and social programmes, and open engagement with an increasingly interconnected world.

Kanni Wignaraja, UNDP Resident Representative for Zambia said, “The Report’s emphasis on creating opportunities for new partnerships with and between the South is key to advance human development in countries such as Zambia, and to confront shared global challenges such as climate change. It calls on leaders to make bold and determined decisions on economic, environmental and social policy that attack poverty and inequality, and to commit to long-term investments in education, health, job creation and infrastructure in order to sustain the momentum of progress.”

Zambia falls in the bracket of countries with Low Human Development. Between 1980 and 2012, Zambia’s HDI value increased minimally from 0.405 to 0.448, which is still below the average of 0.475 for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past 32 years, Zambia’s life expectancy at birth decreased by 2.6 years, mean years of schooling increased by 3.4 years and Gross National Income per capita decreased by about 5 percent. Sub-Saharan African countries which are close to Zambia in their 2012 HDI rank and population size are Angola and Malawi, which have HDIs ranked 148 and 170 respectively. While Norway, Australia, and United States lead the world in the 2013 HDI, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Niger are at the bottom of the Human Development Report’s annual rankings.

Zambia, a country with high income inequality

Zambia has seen robust economic growth averaging 6.1% between 2006 and 2009, and registering over 7% GDP growth in 2011 and 2012.  While this sustained growth has enabled it to graduate to lower middle-income status, these development gains have not benefitted all Zambians, as many Zambians, especially in rural areas, continue to fall far behind the national average. The new report says, 60% of Zambians continue to live below the national poverty line.


Zambia’s income Gini co-efficient is 0.60 (2010), placing it in the category of countries with highest income inequality. When the HDI is adjusted for internal inequalities in health, education and income, some of the wealthiest nations fall sharply in the rankings: the United States falls from 3 to 16 in the inequality-adjusted HDI, and South Korea falls from 12 to 28. Sweden, by contrast, rises from 7 to 4 when domestic HDI inequalities are taken into account. Zambia falls from 163 to 165 due to existing inequality.

The Gender Inequality Index (GII), designed to measure gender inequalities as revealed by national data on reproductive health, women’s empowerment and labour market participation, also places Zambia in the bracket of countries with greatest gender inequality. “Though many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa showed improvement in their GII value between 2000 and 2012, they still perform worse than countries in other regions, mainly because of higher maternal mortality ratios and adolescent fertility rates and huge gaps in educational attainment,” states the Report. Zambia’s GII value is 0.623, higher than the Sub-Saharan Africa regional average, which is 0.577.

New Resources, New Opportunities, New Institutions
Countries across the South are extending trade, technology and policy ties throughout the North, while the North is looking South for new partnerships that can promote global growth and development. The South as a whole is driving global economic growth and societal change for the first time in centuries. “The model of bilateral cooperation being practiced by new development partners from the South has been changing rapidly,” says the report, highlighting increased investments in Zambia by China, India and Brazil over the past recent years.


Until recently, the contribution of these Southern country partners to Zambia’s overall development finance was small. Of the total $3 billion in grants and loans that Zambia received between 2006 and 2009, disbursements by Brazil, China and India made up less than 3%. In November 2009, China and Zambia announced that China would extend a $1 billion concessional loan, in tranches, to Zambia for the development of small and medium-size enterprises. This is the equivalent of 40% of Zambia’s total public external debt stock. In 2010, the Export-Import Bank of China extended a $57.8 million loan to Zambia to procure nine mobile hospitals. In 2010, India announced a line of credit of $75 million, followed by another line of credit of $50 million, to finance a hydroelectric power project. Brazil has invested heavily in mining equipment at the Konkola Copper Mines in the North western province of Zambia (managed by an Indian company). The large Brazilian mining company, Vale, is in a joint venture with the South African company Rainbow in copper prospecting and mining in Zambia, with an initial investment of about $400 million. Brazil and Zambia have also signed technical cooperation agreements covering livestock and health

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