Latest report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has found an increase in life expectancy in Ghana at birth by 7 years. This revelation was made in UNDP’s 2019 Human Development Report titled, “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: inequalities in human development in the 21st century.”

The study showed that African countries have made significant strides in advancing human development, gaining grounds on primary education and health while highlighting the emergence of a “new generation of inequalities.”

The report indicated that “between 1990 and 2018, Ghana’s life expectancy at birth increased by 7.0 years (from 56.8 years in 1990 to 63.8 years in 2018), mean years of schooling increased by 2.3 years (4.9 years to 7.2 years) and expected years of schooling increased by 3.9 years.”

Ghana’s Gross National Income per capita according to the report, also saw a rise by about 120.0% between 1990 and 2018 from 1,863 to 4,099.

The Human Development Index (HDI) of Africa is also said to have experienced one of the most significant improvements. The UNDP report states that Ghana’s HDI value between 1990 and 2018 “increased from 0.454 to 0.596, an increase of 31%.” 

This development puts the country in the medium human development category, positioning it at 142 out of 189 countries and territories.

However, Ghana’s HDI value of 0.593 is below the average of 0.634 for countries in the medium human development group but above the average of 0.541 for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This Human Development which pioneers a more precise way of measuring countries’ socioeconomic progress, says just as the gap in basic living standards is narrowing with an unprecedented number of people escaping poverty, hunger and disease, the necessities to thrive has evolved.

According to the report, Ghana has a Gender Inequality Index (GII) value of 0.541, ranking it 133 out of 162 countries in the 2018 index.

In comparison, Cameroon and Kenya are ranked at 140 and 134 respectively. Ghana has 12.7% of Parliamentary seats held by women and 55.7% of adult women have reached at least a secondary level of education compared to 71.1% of their male counterparts.

Female participation in the labour market is 63.6% compared to 71.5% for men.

The report also emphasised how climate change is worsening the rate of inequality in Africa.

UNDP, however, calls on policymakers to consider today’s complexities such as the impact of climate change, technological advancement and the need to build resilient local economies in their bid to fight inequality.

See highlights of the report below: