Thursday, November 19, 2009

UN: Venezuela and Cuba Excel at Human Development

Below is an algamation of reports from Earth Times and Green Left Weekly.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) revealed that China and Venezuela were the two top gainers in terms of human development since 2007. The UNDP's "Human Development Index" compiles multiple statistics relating to health, education, poverty, women's rights, etc. in order to come up with the most holistic picture of actual human progress (rather than just economic).

Venezuela has been led by President Hugo Chavez for the past decade. Chavez is an outspoken critic of capitalsm and has pursued socialist policies aimed at combatting disease, illiteracy, malnutrition and poverty.

Cuba’s education index is equal highest in the world, along with Australia, Finland, Denmark and New Zealand. Cuba’s education index is 0.993 of a possible score of 1. Its adult literacy rate is 99.8% and school enrolments are 100%. Public expenditure on education in Cuba is 14.2% of total government expenditure. This is higher than Australia (13.3%) and the US (13.7%). Cuba also tops the world in the ratio of female to male enrolment in all levels of school, at 121%.

Cuba’s life expectancy is 78.5 years, the highest along with Chile in Latin America and the Caribbean. It compares favourably with Australia (81.4 years) and the US (79.1 years).

Cuba fares well desptie having a relatively low population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Mexico, with twice the GDP per capita as Cuba, actually has a lower level of human development than Cuba.

Since 2005, Azerbaijan, Cuba and Venezuela have improved their HDI more than any other countries. Venezuela was one of the few countries that significantly bettered its HDI ranking since last year, jumping four places from 62 to 58.

Venezuela has achieved a relatively rapid rise of 5.2% in its HDI between 2000 to 2007, compared to a 4.8% increase in its HDI over the previous 20 years.


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