Although the 2015 United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Human Development Report acclaims that Sierra Leone is making significant progress in its human development index value, having risen from 0.268 in 1980 to 0.413 in 2014 – an increase of 50.0% – yet the country was still rated among the lowest developed category of countries – positioning it at 181 out of 188.

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The 2015 Human Development Report was officially launched yesterday by Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Alhaji Mansaray, at Treasury Building in Freetown.

UNDP Country Director, Sudipto Mukerjee, said the 2015 report, which is themed ‘Work for Human Development’, examines key relationship between work and human development.

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“It envisions work as the means for unleashing human potential, creativity, innovation and spirits. Work empowers people to earn a living, gives them a means to contribute in society, provides them with security and gives them a sense of dignity,” he said.

He said the report makes a strong case that women are disadvantaged in both paid and unpaid work places.

“With regard to paid work, women earn less and underrepresented in senior management and decision making positions. For unpaid work, they bear a disproportionate part of household and care giving work,” he said.

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The UN diplomat continued that the report was strongly linked with the new development agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially goal 8, which focuses on decent work and economic growth-promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, productive employment and decent work for all.

Mr. Mukerjee stated however that the increase in Human Development Index (HDI) value from 0.268 in 1980 to 0.413 in 2014 showed that the country was steadily moving to the 0.625 HDI target by 2035 in the Agenda for Prosperity.

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“The report also notes Sierra Leone‘s progress in each of the dimensions of HDI. Between 1980 and 2014, Sierra Leone’s life expectancy at birth increased by 10.3 years, mean years of schooling increased by 2.1 years and expected years of schooling increased by 3.9 years. Sierra Leone’s Gross National Income per capita increased by about 54.4 percent between 1980 and 2014,” he said.

He mentioned that inequality in different dimensions of HDI threatens the significant progress made in human development and that the gender inequality index in 2014 was 0.650, which he said implies that there was 65.0% loss in human development as a result of gender inequality in reproductive health, empowerment and economic activity.