THE PHILIPPINES still has a long way to go while some of our neighbors in Asia have zoomed their way towards becoming the fast-rising new powers in the global stage.
According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) 2013 Human Development Report, “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World,” there has been a “profound shift in global dynamics by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world and its long-term implications for human development.”
In its 22nd edition, the UNDP report noted that there have been 40 developing countries which earned significant strides in human development and are expected to continue to grow. The report further said that by 2030, the southern countries will be hosts of at least 80 percent of the world’s middle class.
Here in the Asia Pacific region, the report noted the strides in improvement of the Human Development Indices of China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand. Although having significantly lower incomes than the middle class of the northern countries, the UNDP report expects the Asia Pacific region will have “billions of people becoming increasingly educated, socially engaged and internationally connected.”
“By 2020, the combined economic output of three leading developing countries alone—Brazil, China and India—will surpass the aggregate production of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Much of the expansion is driven by new trade and technology partnerships within the South itself,” United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark writes in the report’s foreword. The UNDP report covered a total of 186 countries.
“China has already overtaken Japan as the worlds second biggest economy while lifting hundreds of millions of its people out of poverty. India is reshaping its future with new entrepreneurial creativity and social policy innovation. Brazil is lifting its living standards through expanding international relationships and antipoverty programs that are emulated worldwide,” the UNDP report reads.
However, in the same UNDP report, Philippines lagged behind some of its Southeast Asian neighbors at 114th for the fifth consecutive year with a Human Development Index (HDI) score of 0.654. The report further noted that this improvement is “still slightly below the East Asia and the Pacific regional average of 0.683.”
Here are the other findings of the UNDP for the Philippines:
- Life expectancy in the country is at 69 years old.
- The country ranked 77th in the Gender Inequality Index. This ranking is the third lowest rank when compared to other neighbors in Southeast Asia.
- At least 18.4 percent of the country’s population earned below US$1.25 from 2011 to 2012.
- Subsequently, around 9.1 percent of the total population is vulnerable to poverty while 5.7 percent are living in severe poverty
- The country’s Gross National Income per capita level is US$3,752.
- Debt servicing was the highest priority in terms of public spending which accounts for 6.5 percent of the Gross National Product in 2009,while its education spending is inversely proportional averaging 2.5 percent of the GDP from 2005 to 2010.
In its latest report, UNDP also predicted there would at least 126.3 million Filipinos by the year 2030.
Along with five Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines has been ranked as a medium human development country. Thailand, with an HDI score of 0.690, has been ranked at 103, while Indonesia—tied with Kiribati and South Africa—is ranked 121 with an HDI score of 0.629. Not far behind is Vietnam ranked at 127 with an HDI score of 0.617 and Cambodia, which is ranked 138 with an HDI score of 0.543, is tied with India.
Only Malaysia—ranked 64th with an HDI score of 0.769 and tied with Libya and Serbia—was ranked as a high development country.
Read the full UNDP report here.