St. Kitts-Nevis highest ranked CARICOM country according to HDR report

March 14, 2024 in National

St. Kitts-Nevis has emerged as the highest ranked Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country in the 2023-24 Human Development Report (HDR), released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Wedesday.

The UNDP report, titled “Breaking the Gridlock: Re-imagining cooperation in a polarized world”, provides a summary measure reflecting a country’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, education, and life expectancy.

The reveals a troubling trend, which is, the rebound in the global Human Development Index (HDI) which is projected to reach record highs in 2023 after steep declines during 2020 and 2021.

“But this progress is deeply uneven. Rich countries are experiencing record-high levels of human development while half of the world’s poorest countries remain below their pre-crisis level of progress.”

According to the report of the 193 countries surveyed, the twin island Federation placed 51st with a HDI index of 0.838, in 2023, a change of 0.006 per cent from the 2021 figure.

Antigua and Barbuda was the next highest CARICOM country at 54 with a HDI index of 0.826, a 0.007 per cent difference from its 2021 figure, followed by The Bahamas at 57 with an HDI index of 0.920, a difference fo 0.021 from the 2021 figures.

Trinidad and Tobago was positioned at number 60 with a HIDI index of 0.814 and a difference of 0.010, followed by Barbados, which placed 62nd recording a HDI index of 0.809 with a difference of 0.006 per cent, while Grenada at 73, had a HDI index of 0.793 and a difference of 0.005 per cent.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines registered a HDI index of 0.772 and a difference of 0.007 percent to be placed at 81st, while Guyana with a HDI of 0.742 and a difference of 0.021per cent came in at number 95, followed by Dominica at 97 with a HDI index of 0.740 and a difference of 0.003 per cent.

The UNDP figures showed that St. Lucia at 108 an a HDI index of 0.690 and a difference of 0.001 per cent,, was followed by Jamaica at 115 with a HDI index of 0.706 and a difference on its 2021 figure of 0.002 per cent, while Belize came in at 118 with a HDI index of 0.700 and a difference of 0.002 per cent.

The Dutch speaking CARICOM country of Suriname was pegged at 124 with a HDI index of 0.690 and a difference of 0.001 per cent, while the French-speaking CARICOM country of Haiti was in the cellar position of regional countries with a HDI index of 0.0552 and a difference of 0.001 per cent to be placed at 158.

Regarding Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the report notes that the region experienced the largest drop in the HDI globally during 2020-2021.

Regarding the components of the HDI, life expectancy in the region, with a value of 73.9 years, exceeds the world average of 72 years. The region is also ahead in the component of expected years of schooling and average years of schooling, but behind in gross per capita income.

The report said countries in the region must invest in social protection and resilience so that the impacts do not have such a strong impact on people.

“It is important to pay attention to how societies are built that are resilient to these shocks where human development does not change its growth trajectory. Through better social protection systems, for example, countries can recover more quickly.

“In Latin America and the Caribbean, these types of shocks, such as the pandemic, cause the trajectory of human development to not be the same again and groups of society are left behind and do not recover,” the report added.

.In its report the UNDP said that uneven development progress is leaving the poorest behind, exacerbating inequality, and stoking political polarization on a global scale, warning that the result is a dangerous gridlock that must be urgently tackled through collective action.

Global inequalities are compounded by substantial economic concentration. As referenced in the report, almost 40 per cent of global trade in goods is concentrated in three or fewer countries; and in 2021 the market capitalization of each of the three largest tech companies in the world surpassed the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than 90 percent of countries that year.

“The widening human development gap revealed by the report shows that the two-decade trend of steadily reducing inequalities between wealthy and poor nations is now in reverse. Despite our deeply interconnected global societies, we are falling short. We must leverage our interdependence as well as our capacities to address our shared and existential challenges and ensure people’s aspirations are met,” said Achim Steiner, head of the UN Development Programme.

“This gridlock carries a significant human toll. The failure of collective action to advance action on climate change, digitalization or poverty and inequality not only hinders human development but also worsens polarization and further erodes trust in people and institutions worldwide,” Steiner added.

The report argues that advancing international collective action is hindered by an emerging ‘democracy paradox’: while nine in 10 people worldwide endorse democracy, over half of global survey respondents express support for leaders that may undermine it by bypassing fundamental rules of the democratic process, as per data analysed in the report.

Half of people surveyed worldwide report having no or limited control over their lives, and over two-thirds believe they have little influence on their government’s decisions.