This is Africa's highest quality of life

Taurai Masunda / Posted On: 16 June 2020 / Updated On: 26 November 2022 / Travel / 539

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This is Africa's highest quality of life

The Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme published its annual human development report for 2019. The first human development report was launched in 1990 by the Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and Indian Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. Since then reports have been released most years, and have explored different themes through the human development approach, which places people at the centre of the development process. With a human development index of 0.80, Seychelles has been ranked as number 1 African country with a high human development index value.

The Human Development Index was developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in its first Human Development Report published in 1990. It is an index to measure the level of human development in countries, to arrive at some comparisons between nations, and to be able to rank countries in order of their status of human development. The UNDP index calculated human development as a measure of education, health and incomes of nations. The basic construction of the index has not changed, though many modifications have been made to the way calculations are undertaken to make the index more reflective of human development.


EDUCATION - UNDP uses literacy rate and mean years of schooling.

HEALTH - UNDP uses life expectancy as the health parameter to assess health status.

INCOME - The UNDP HDI uses ‘adjusted per capita income for countries’ to calculate the index.


As the global economic system struggles with the consequences of the health emergency linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, most countries are developing plans for the next stage of recovery and new growth. COVID-19 crisis is more than a global health emergency; it is a systemic human development crisis. Policies to reduce vulnerabilities and build capacities to tackle crises, both in the short and long term, are vital to enable individuals and societies to better weather and recover from these shocks.


The list of top African countries by Human Development Index for 2019 are the following:

African rank

Global rank


Human Development Index



























South Africa












Preparedness of countries to respond to COVID-19


Every country, society, group, and individual is vulnerable to adverse events. However, when it comes to shocks such as COVID-19 pandemic, our ability to respond is significantly lower and unequally distributed.

The level of human development and its inequality, together with healthcare system capacity, can portray countries’ preparedness to respond effectively and efficiently to a health crisis. For example, a very high human development country has on average 55 hospital beds, over 30 physicians, and 81 nurses per 10,000 people, compared to 7 hospital beds, 2.5 physicians, and 6 nurses in the least developed country.


Widespread lockdowns around the world mean many people are having to rely on Internet access to work, continue with their education, and interact with others. The digital divide has become more significant than ever, as hundreds of millions of people around the globe still don’t have access to reliable broadband internet.


With the current COVID-19 pandemic, it's more important to understand why countries should invest in human capital and protect hard-won gains from being eroded. Tunisia, Meher Khelifi used technology to save lives. Meher implemented an innovation to address the negative impact of the pandemic on rural women, who are most affected by job losses and food price increases as well as shortages of essential products such as flour and semoulina, and who are vulnerable to health risks. He is using modern technology and creating “Ahmini Light” with other partners.


Will high-quality human capital countries be able to go beyond just average. The human capital index quantifies the contribution of health and education to the productivity of the next generation of workers. Human resource development plays an important role in an entity, a village, a region, a country's performance.

Taurai Masunda is a Business Analytics Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966 or email: [email protected]  or visit our website at

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