It was suggested today that developments occurring in Barbados need to consider the rest of the Caribbean, as the region struggles to become more developed.
Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP, Lara Blanco-Rothe, in presenting an analysis of Barbados from the Human Development Report 2013, noted that Barbados stood in position 38 among the very high development index, with the nearest regional country being Grenada at 63, followed by Antigua and Barbuda at 67; St. Kitts and Nevis, and Dominica, both at 72, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 83 and St. Lucia, 88.
While Barbados had performed well in the index, she noted that the differences as well were of equal importance.
“There are still big differences between the countries of the Caribbean. There is very high human development, but nevertheless there is a big difference … for example you have Barbados at number 38 and you have St. Vincent and the Grenadines whose number is 83. So it is for you to know that these differences exist and whatever is done in Barbados has to take into account the sub-region and what you see here,” she said, showing a graph of the differences in the scale of human development.
She noted that Barbados had shown a persistent increase in the value of the index despite very difficult times, economic prices etc, adding that often with the increases in human development were similar increases in life expectancy, education and other issues.
A summary of Barbados’ human development, according to the report, gave the island an HDI value of 0.825, placing it in the very high development category out of 187 countries and territories.
The report said: “Between 1980 and 2012, Barbados’ HDI value increased from 0.706 to 0.825, an increase of 17 per cent or average annual increase of about 0.5 per cent.
“The rank of Barbados’s HDI for 2011 based on data available in 2012 and methods used in 2012 was – 38 out of 187 countries. In the 2011 HDR, Barbados was ranked 47 out of 187 countries. However, it is misleading to compare values and rankings with those of previously published reports, because the underlying data and methods have changed…
“Between 1980 and 2012, Barbados’ life expectancy at birth increased by 4.9 years, mean years of schooling increased by three years and expected years of schooling increased by 4.1 years. Barbados’ GNI per capita increased by about 19 per cent between 1980 and 2012,” it stated.
The introduction however warned against comparing values and rankings with previously published reports as some of the underlying data and methods have changed.
Blanco-Rothe in her presentation stated that the index also showed that 15 per cent of households were experiencing poverty, although the summary on Barbados from the report itself noted that there was no rating in the multi-dimentional poverty index. This MPI, according to the report was introduced in 2010 to identify multiple deprivations in the same household in terms of education, health and standard of living. All the indicators would therefore have to be taken from the same household to arrive at a percentage.
Of Barbados, the report said though: “Due to a lack of relevant data, the MPI has not been calculated for this country.”
In the assessment of progress relative to other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the report said: “Long-term progress can be usefully assessed relative to other countries-both in terms of geographical location and HDI value. For instance, during the period between 1980 and 2012 Barbados, Chile and Trinidad and Tobago experienced different degrees of progress toward increasing their HDIs.”
The other area for which there was an analysis was relative to the Gender Inequality Index recorded in 2012, which gave Barbados a ranking of 61 out of 148 countries at a value of 0.343.
The GII reflects gender-based inequalities in three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and economic activity.
Of Barbados it said: “In Barbados, 19.6 per cent of parliamentary seats are held by women, and 89.5 per cent of adult women have reached a secondary or higher level of education compared to 87.6 per cent of their male counterparts. For every 100,000 live births, 51 women die from pregnancy related causes; and the adolescent fertility rate is 40.8 births per 1,000 live births. Female participation in the labour market is 64.8 per cent compared to 76.2 for men.” (LB)