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Nigeria receives top rating in development index

By The Citizen
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Nigeria has been rated high in a Development Index report by the Standard Chartered Bank.

The latest Standard Chartered Development Index (SCDI) also gave high ratings to Ghana, Uganda, Korea, Bangladesh, Singapore, Egypt, India, Brazil and Indonesia.

The 56-page document measured the changes in five aspects of sustainable growth: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, years of education, life expectancy, environmental health (i.e., air pollution and fresh water) and ecosystem vitality (long-term environmental sustainability including addressing climate change).

The survey period, which measured the changes in the countries surveyed between 2000 and 2012, according to the report, was an indicator of progress, not a static ranking. It noted that China, despite its stellar GDP growth and improvements in education, went further down the list. This, the report said, reflected weak scores on life expectancy, environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

For Nigeria, the SCDI noted strong gains in life expectancy and GDP, adding that Nigeria's overall development performance was strong.

It explained: 'GDP per capita grew 3.8 per cent per annum, just behind Uganda and Ghana. Education improved, with expected years of schooling for five-year-olds at 9.0. Education levels for the existing workforce remain low, but should gradually improve. The gain in life expectancy, at 6.0 years, is second only to Ghana, though life expectancy is still very low. Nigeria shows modest gains on environmental health, despite stellar GDP growth.

'Water use and forest loss are both large negatives, but Nigeria has made good progress on reducing SOâ‚‚ emissions.'

Furthermore, the report looked at measures of sustainable development and human well-being. It showed that majority of the countries sampled made substantial progress in most of its five areas of focus in the past decade.

Specifically, the report noted that since 2000, GDP per capita, education, life expectancy and environmental health have all improved in almost all the countries surveyed. 'Even developed countries that already had long life expectancy have added a year or two; some poorer countries have added three to five or more years. Most countries have added between one and three years in expected years of education for five-year-olds.

'The major disappointment is in ecosystem vitality: the majority of the countries in our sample have deteriorated in this area. The worst problems are over-use of water, loss of forests and increasing CO2 emissions. While life expectancy, education, and better environmental health are generally correlated with rising GDP, ecosystem vitality is not. Indeed, it is negatively correlated,' it added. - Thisday.