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Ethiopia sits at 174th place out of 188 countries in the newly launched Human Development Index by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

The findings of the report further shows that despite outpacing global human development growth rates over 15 years, sub-Saharan Africa remains burdened by the world’s most uneven distribution of development gains, with women, girls, people living in rural areas, migrants refugees and those in conflict-affected areas systematically left behind.

“The world’s citizens are not benefiting from equitable and universal access to quality education, healthcare, social protection; universal respect for human rights and dignity remains a challenge; we haven’t managed to realize gender equality and ensuring a just, equitable tolerant, open and socially inclusive world that is free from violence. In addition, we have failed to realize sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all,” said Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator.

The report entitled “Human Development for Everyone” launched on Thursday, April 13, 2017 also finds that although average human development improved significantly across all regions from 1990 to 2015, one in three people worldwide continue to live at low levels of human development, as measured by the Human Development Index.

Furthermore, it shows that in sub-Saharan Africa, over the past two decades, almost 60 percent of people still experienced deprivation. Around a third of children under the age of five are malnourished and affected by stunting. Gender inequality remains a serious challenge. Over 35 percent of adults are illiterate. Some 70 percent of working adults earn less than USD 3.10 per day.

Women and girls, rural dwellers, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees are among those systematically excluded by barriers that are not purely economic but political social and cultural as well.

“When we look at human development through gender perspectives we come to a shocking realization that the world is far from a free and equal place for millions of women. On average, women still have lower human development than their male counterparts. Access to resources has also remained a major bottleneck with women making up only 10 to 20 percent of landholders in developing countries. Every year 15 million girls marry before the age of 18 in developing countries, and in 18 countries, women need their husband’s approval to take a job while 46 countries laws do not protect women from domestic violence,” Eziakonwa-Onochie stated.

The report calls for far greater attention to empowering the most marginalized in society as well as recognizing the importance of giving them greater voices in decision making process.

Speaking on rights of people, Joseph Atta-Mensah from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Capacity Development Division, said that discrimination against LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) groups should not be accepted and what happens in private as well as what people choose to be should not be government’s business.

“If we want to give a voice, we need to give a voice to those people too. If they do not break any laws of a country, why persecute them,” Atta-Mensah said; underlining that everyone should be included in the plans to build the Africa that we want.