Bangladesh advanced three steps, thus, jointly ranking 139th with Ghana and Zambia out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index (HDI), according to the Human Development Report (HDR) 2016.
Categorised as a “medium human development” country for the 13th consecutive year, Bangladesh’s average annual growth of HDI was 1.64%, between 1990 and 2015, which is higher than that of many other South Asian countries, the report adds.
The annual report was unveiled by the UNDP at a programme which it jointly organised with the Planning Commission in Dhaka on Wednesday, less than two weeks after the report’s global launch in Stockholm, Sweden.
With the HDI value standing at 0.579 in 2015, Bangladesh ranked fifth in South Asia, lagging behind Sri Lanka (73rd), the Maldives (105th), India (131st) and Bhutan (132nd) on the overall list topped by Norway (with 0.949 HDI value).
Addressing as chief guest, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal termed Bangladesh’s progress in human development over the last two decades significant, saying the average annual HDI growth is better than many other South Asian countries.
“Our social indicators depict that we are doing better in health, education and life expectancy at birth with the per capita income spiraling,” he added.
Life expectancy at birth in Bangladesh stood at 72 years, expected years of schooling at 10.2 years, mean years of schooling 5.2 years, adult literacy rate 61.5, gross national income (GNI) per capita $3,341, the report reads.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh became a role model among developing countries as its progress in recent years has impressed the world.
“We have to continue our development for the sake of the people, especially the marginalised and deprived ones.”
Dr Selim Jahan, lead author of the report, cautioning on paying too much attention to national averages, said: “Though progress in human development has been impressive over the past 25 years, still it [human development] has been uneven and human deprivations persist.”
UNDP Bangladesh Country Director Sudipto Mukharjee questioned about who has been left out in the development process and how and why that happened.
Devised and launched in 1990, HDI is a measure to assess progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and access to decent standard living.