UAE among high Human Development Index countries

ABU DHABI - Though UAE has marked an overall progress in health, literacy, women empowerment and technological development, it is trailing one step when compared to its last year's 48th position in the Human Development Index - a key aspect of the Human Development Report 2004 released worldwide by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) last week.

By Anjana Sankar

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Published: Thu 22 Jul 2004, 10:13 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:48 PM

But pegged at 49th position, UAE ranks among the countries with high human development with Development Index Trends, calculated within a period of 1975 to 2002, showing an upward trend. Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar are the three other Gulf countries that have been included in the same category ranking at 40, 44 and 47 respectively, fairing better than United Arab Emirates. Norway clinched the top position followed by Sweden, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands.

The 2004 report titled 'Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World' looks at many different policy approaches to multicultural nations and communities, from bilingual education and affirmative action plans to innovative systems of proportional representation and federalism. The report argues that all people have the right to maintain their ethnic, linguistic and religious identities.

"Cultural freedom is an essential element of human development. The freedom to choose one's identity and to exercise that choice without facing discrimination of disadvantage is vital to people's lives," said Nadir Hadj-Hammou, UNDP resident representative quoting the report.

Human Development Report ranks 177 countries according to the level of human development achieved in each country through a Human Development Index (HDI). The Human Development Index is a composite index that measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, as measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge as measured by the adult literacy rate and the combined gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools; and a descent standard of living, as measured by GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) US dollars.

The life expectancy at birth in UAE stands at 74.6 years, adult literacy rate at 77.3, combined gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary schools at 68 per cent.

With 95 -100 per cent of the population having sustainable access to affordable essential drugs, UAE shows a considerable increase in health expenditure which stands at 921 PPP US Dollars. While the public health expenditure stands at 2.6 per cent of the GDP, in the private sector it is only 0.8per cent. The child immunisation programmes conducted is also lauded in the report as the below one year olds fully immunized against tuberculosis and measles shows a good 98 and 94 percent respectively.

UAE has also recorded one of the highest growth rates in population with an annual growth rate of 6.5 per cent. From the 0.5 million in 1975, the UAE population has soared to 2.9 million as per the 2002 figures. The technology diffusion in UAE also fares much better. Out of 1000 people, 291 having access to telephone mainlines, 647 being cellular subscribers and 313.2 Internet users.

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