Statement by Mr Alberic Kacou, UN Resident Coordinator& UNDP Resident Representative at the launch of the Human Development Report 2013

15 Mar 2013

Launching of Human Development Report 2013

Distinguished Guest of Honor, Mr. Peniel Lyimo, Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, Honorable Government Representatives, Excellencies, Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Heads of Development Cooperation,

 Distinguished guests, Civil Society representatives, Members of the Media,

Dear UN Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning and welcome to the launch of UNDP’s 2013 Human Development Report. It is a great honor for me to have such distinguished guests gracing the launch.

Recognizing evolving geopolitics, emerging issues and the shift in global economic power that is shaping the development landscape, this year’s Human Development Report focuses on “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”. It is a fitting tribute to the role that the South is increasingly playing in the striking economic, political and social transformation we are witnessing globally. As well, it is in recognition of the “South’s” significant impact on human development progress. It is against this backdrop that the 2013 HDR aims to contribute to development thinking by describing the drivers of development transformation and by suggesting future policy priorities that could help sustain such momentum.

Let me highlight three such drivers in the current development scenario that the report highlights:

  1. The first is a proactive developmental state, or a state that actively develops policies for both the public and private sector based on long-term vision and leadership, shared norms and values, and rules and institutions that build trust and cohesion. Priorities need to be people- centered and promote opportunities, while protecting individuals against downside risks.
  2. The second driver of development transformation is successful tapping of global markets. Global markets have played an important role in advancing progress in the South. But without investing in people, returns from global markets tend to be limited. This is an area where Tanzania could focus effortinvesting in its people as it could pay hefty dividends in the years to come.
  3. The third driver is social policy innovation. Few countries have sustained rapid growth without impressive levels of public investment, not just in infrastructure, but also in health and education.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

We have seen the rise of the South at an unprecedented speed and scale in recent years. This ascent is driven by these three fundamental pillars. China and India – each with populations of about one billion— doubled output per capita in less than 20 years. This has had significant spillover effects on other countries, especially in the South, with particular impact on poverty reduction, wealth creation and human development. For example, Brazil, China and India reduced poverty by 65, 78 and 33 per cent, respectively since 1990. Tanzania has also done rather well, with a three-fold increase in per capita income since 1990. It must be said, however, its impact on poverty remains low

The economic force generated in this process is far greater than that of the Industrial Revolution as it impacts billions of people, albeit in different ways. Today the South as a whole produces nearly half of the world’s output, up by a third from 1990. It accounts for nearly half of world merchandize trade, doubling from a mere quarter three decades ago. By 2050, Brazil, China and India will account for 40 per cent of world output. The robust growth in emerging economies in the South has benefitted countries such as Tanzania, enabling them to grow at a faster rate than ever seen before. Emerging economies in the South are also sharing their development models with other countries in the South fostering South-South cooperation and smart partnership. One such example is Tanzania’s recent initiative to adopt the Big Results Now (BRN) approach based on the Malaysian model for faster growth.

Southern economies are a force to be reckoned with. Together they have bolstered the global economy during difficult times such as the recent economic and financial crisis. Their domestic markets have increasingly become the main engine of growth. This demonstrates both their individual and collective power. For its part, the Tanzanian economy continued to show resilience to shocks growing at around 6-7 per cent per annum during the financial crisis.

During the past three decades, South–South trade as a share of world trade has more than tripled from 8 to 27 per cent, while its share of global foreign direct investment has increased from 20 to 50 per cent. Tanzania’s economy and development have increasingly benefitted from such FDI flows from the South.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

One lesson we can learn from the rise of the South is that it has not resulted from adhering to a fixed set of policy prescriptions but from applying pragmatic policies that respond to local circumstances and opportunities. Thus, the approach to development in the South has always been experimental. More importantly, it has been centered on human development. But this is not a mechanical process

The HDR 2013 suggests that there are four steps for the South to take to facilitate human development.

(i) First is enhancing equity. One of the most powerful instruments for this purpose is education.

(ii) The second is enabling voice and participation. Unless people participate meaningfully in the events and processes that shape their lives, national human development will be neither desirable nor sustainable.

(iii) Third, an important emerging issue is confronting environmental challenges. Environmental threats such as climate change are real and affect everyone. But they hurt poor countries and poor communities most as their coping strategies are limited. This is an area where we cannot wait to take action. The cost is likely to be high – and the longer the inaction, the higher the cost.

(iv) The forth area is managing demographic change. Tanzania could benefit from a demographic dividend soon as the share of the working-age population rises. But this would happen only if there is strong policy to make the working-age population a productive force. Quality education and skills development, particularly for girls, would be critical to realize the democratic dividend. Both must be addressed without delay

Countries like Tanzania have made serious efforts to adopt these policies at different scales and speed. Tanzania’s achievements in human development, especially since 2000, are notable. Human Development Index growth has averaged 2.36 per cent annually. Its rank in the 2012 Index – 152nd out of 187 countries – is one place higher than last year. That said, there is lot more catching up to do as progress before 2000 was very slow. Moreover, as the HDR indicates, Tanzania is lagging behind in improving multi-dimensional poverty.

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen

Tanzania could make enormous gains in human development with little additional effort: by making its policies more people centered, making growth more inclusive, and putting in place appropriate social safety nets to protect the most vulnerable from shocks.

Let me conclude with a quote from John Maynard Keynes. I quote: “The political problem of mankind is to combine three things: economic efficiency, social justice and individual liberty”. These are the very fundamental norms that we, the United Nations, advocate every day, everywhere and to every body. What’s more important, however, is to make these a reality.

Thank you and Asanteni Sana!