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Poor Education, Health Hindering Equitable Human Development in Uganda –UNDP

These, according to the United Nations Development Programme-UNDP, need to be addressed in order to improve the quality of life and life expectancy amongst Ugandans. UNDP states that the inequalities have widened the gap between the rich and the poor; as the rich improve their income, the share of the poor shrinks.
State Minister for Finance David Bahati Launching The Human Development Report At Golf Course Hotel In Kampala on Friday

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The uneven share of the national income, lack of access to quality education, poor healthcare and entry-level technologies have been highlighted as the new set of inequalities hindering equitable human development in Uganda. 

These, according to the United Nations Development Programme-UNDP, need to be addressed in order to improve the quality of life and life expectancy amongst Ugandans. UNDP states that the inequalities have widened the gap between the rich and the poor; as the rich improve their income, the share of the poor shrinks. 

Yemesrach Assefa, the United Nations Economics Advisor for Rwanda and Uganda says that in 2016, for instance, the top 20 per cent of the Wealthy population in Uganda commanded up to 49 per cent share of the National Income while the bottom 20 per cent poor held just 6.5 per cent of the National Cake. 

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When dis-aggregated further, more than 16 million people (40 per cent) of Uganda's population earning their livelihoods from the Agriculture sector in Uganda commanded only 16.4 per cent of the National income in the same year, a significant decline when compared to earlier data. 

The information is contained in UNDP’s 2019 Human Development Report released in Kampala on Friday. The report says while the Universal Primary Education (UPE) introduced in 1997 increased the number of children in schools from two to eight million, the children are unable to spend an adequate number of years at school.    

The report says that the mean number of school years in Uganda is six despite years of implementation of Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education. 

Yemesrach explains that spending a few years in school means a number of Ugandans remain unable to access tertiary education necessary for acquiring adequate lifelong skills and knowledge for tapping opportunities which could eliminate inequalities.

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It concludes that many poor people in Uganda lived better in the 1990s’ compared to 2016, placing Uganda at position 159 out of 189 countries assessed for the Human Development Index.  It, however, says Uganda is performing impressively in the Health sector.  

The Human Development Index is a measure of assessing long term progress in three dimensions of human development namely; long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.  

The indicators include life expectancy, the average number of years of schooling received in a life-time by people aged 25 years and older (mean years of schooling); and the total number of school years a child of school entry age can receive with equal enrollment patterns (access to learning and knowledge).

The report considered 2011 as the base year for dollar conversions in the calculation of the Gross National Income (GNI) per capita in its measurement of the standard of living.  It warns that Climate Change will widen the scope of the inequalities without addressing them now.         

Professor Augustus Nuwagaba, a lecturer at Makerere University and an international consultant on economic transformation says the report is an indictment on government position indicating that the economy is impressively growing.     

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The report launched by State Minister for Finance Planning and Economic Development David Bahati implores countries to look beyond the income numbers, beyond averages and beyond today to address the underlying factors limiting human development in the country.     

Elsie Attafuah, the UNDP Resident Representative says the report is critical for informing the implementation of Vision 2040, the sustainable development Goals and the addressing structural challenges hindering development in the country.     

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State Minister for Finance David Bahati said the government will utilize the report in the development and implementation of policies including the National Development Plan.  

Uganda’s third National Development Plan prioritizes investment in industrialization for improving household incomes for human capital development. It also focuses on investment in early childhood education, access to family planning services as well as the development of agriculture in order to propel farmers stuck in subsistence agriculture into the money economy.