Malawi moves from 174 to 169 on Human Dev. Index

Human development Index
  • Report presents growing opportunity to do something new; change & adapt positive narrative

Malawi is now on position 169 out of 191 from 174 on the Human Development Index according to the 2021-2022 Human Development Report (HDR).

For the first time on record, the global Human Development Index (HDI) has dropped for two years in a row, taking the world back to just after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Every year a few countries face declines on the HDI, but over 90 percent of countries saw their HDI value drop in either 2020 or 2021.

Among others, the report highlights compounding difficulties which are subjecting people to various kinds of great uncertainties and worry unsettling lives everywhere.

The COVID -19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine are devastating manifestations of today’s uncertainty complex with each exposing limits of and cracks in current global governance.

These have had a ripple effect on immense human suffering, high cost of living leading to a rise in commodity prices which has put the country’s inflation at 24.6 percent.

UNDP Resident Representative Shigeki Komatsubara

Other shocks include diseases such as Monkey pox and polio, persistent forex shortages, fuel supply disruptions and weather shocks.

Titled “Uncertain times, unsettled lives; shaping our future in a transforming world”, the report notes that the hero and the villain in today’s uncertainty story are one and the same; human choice.

“There is little doubt that these are uncertain times, as people feel less sure about what the future holds. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, six of seven people in the world reported feeling insecure about many aspects of their lives, with concerns rising the most in very high HDI countries.

“Life has always been uncertain. The world has faced wars, pandemics and massive natural hazards before. Today’s uncertainty is not necessarily any greater than in the past. If anything, given record achievements in average standards of living and in­comes, with astonishing technological progress, we could be expected to be more ready than ever to meet uncertain times”

To navigate the insecurity, it calls for investments in insurance by ensuring citizens are protected from shocks and being innovative through utilization of digital technology.

School-going children queue for COVID-19 jab in this file photo

It further advocates for policy options, recognition through human rights and how rights holders can be taken on board to exercise power in resolving issues and education by instilling reasoning and critical thinking.

However it is not all gloom and doom as the report points to the fact that in the current situation, there is growing opportunity to do something new; suggesting the need to change and adapt positive narrative in the way Malawi can develop.

The report also suggests on the need to adapt to the world as it is today in order to achieve the future we aspire and an open and inclusive dialogue to navigate uncertainty future communities want.

Some of the suggested ways on the path to transformation and development are the adoption of policies that focus on investment insurance and innovation.

Going beyond setting new policies and new innovative ideas to resolve societal challenges in shaping new norms and values will enable people to thrive in the face of these difficulties.

Another highlight of the report indicates the uncertainties have perpetuated different kinds of stress with one in 8 people being diagnosed with mental disorders.

Some of the media practitioners at the HDR presser

Stress has been rising locally and globally and is prevalent in the less educated and less privileged from uncertainties affecting the world with people feeling more insecure coupled with loss of trust even towards authorities.

“As it has been in so many ways, the Covid-19 pan­demic is ominously illustrative. During the first year of the pandemic, the global prevalence of depres­sion and anxiety increased by more than 25 percent.

Low-income people, especially those who struggle to afford basic needs such as rent and food, suffered disproportionally in several countries. Women, who assumed most of the additional domestic and care work that emerged during school closures and lock­downs, faced much higher mental distress than be­fore the crisis.

“Stressors need not reach the level of globalized trauma to cause mental distress. In fact, one of the most serious economic threats to mental wellbeing seems to stem from repeated financial shocks, such as income loss, especially for poor people and for men”.

Despite these setbacks, the report calls on countries to garner positive action and take this as an opportunity to do something new.

Against this finding it has proposed on the need to ease mental distress and build psychological resilience by expanding access to mental health care.