Speaking at the report launching at Senegambia Beach Hotel, UNDP resident representative Ms Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje said: “The Human Development Report for 2014 is relevant to The Gambia and recognises the progress being made since 1980. The human development index values rank The Gambia 172 out of 187 countries and territories and it is indisputable that it has made progress in each of the human development indicators. Life expectancy, access to knowledge and decent standards of living between 1980 and 2013 have all improved. The Gambia’s life expectancy within this period has improved by 12.9 years with the mean years of schooling increasing from 2.1 years to 4.1. The GNI per capita also increased to about 0.7% between 1980 and 2013.
Notwithstanding this commendable progress, poverty reduction in The Gambia has been marginal. The poverty level is presently 39.6% and remains particularly high in the rural areas largely due to vulnerability of agricultural income, vagaries of nature, exclusion in economic opportunity and lack of social services.
“UNDP strongly supports the government of The Gambia’s Vision 2016 on food self-sufficiency and commends its efforts in developing a comprehensive social protection policy which was validated on 9 July 2014 to address the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities. This, once adopted and implemented successfully in tandem with the Programme of Accelerated Growth and Employment, will ensure the universal provision of social services, strengthening social protection and increase employment opportunities thereby building a solid foundation for long term resilience in The Gambia.”
Ms Lekoetje stated that the theme, ‘sustaining human progress, reducing vulnerability and building resilience’, is particularly important to many of the countries in the world because it discusses vulnerability and how it affects human development outcome. She said human vulnerability to poverty is increasing due to financial instability and mounting environmental pressures such as climate change.
“The report indicates that close to 2.2billion to over 15% of the world’s population are either near or living in multi-dimensional poverty. Close to 80% of the global population lack comprehensive social protection. About 842million people across the world suffer from chronic hunger and close to half of workers are in the informal sector under precarious working conditions. These are the most vulnerable members of our communities with limited capabilities and choices. We need to pay particular attention to these people as we move forward in the discussion of post 2015 development agenda,” she said.]]>