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Human development potential of Central Asian countries not yet realised

According to a yearly ranking by UNDP, Kazakhstan is among the countries that boast a high development of human potential. Other Central Asian countries, however, ranked at a medium level of development.

Madi Asanov


On Oct. 6, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) released its 20th yearly Human Development Report (HDR), which this year focuses on migration. The objective of the reports issued over the past two decades is to help people realise their potential, increase their choices and enjoy the freedom to lead lives they value.

Since 1990, UNDP Human Development Reports have explored challenges including poverty, gender, democracy, human rights, cultural liberty, globalisation, water scarcity and climate. This year’s report, titled “Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development,” focuses on developing effective strategies for mobility to promote human development.

The report divides 182 counties into three groups: those with high, medium and low development of human potential. The indicators contributing to the rating included life expectancy at birth, GDP and literacy level. Also taken into account were “freedom, human dignity and the possibility to take part in civic life.”

This year, the report paid particular attention to migration issues. Approximately 260 million people currently live and work outside their home countries. In Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have the highest outflow of migrant workers. In Kyrgyzstan, almost 9 percent of GDP comes from migrant remittances from abroad.

Kazakhstan fell nine places from last year’s ranking and is now in 82nd place. The report states that there are up to 3 million migrants in the country, representing 19.6 percent of the total population.

The remaining Central Asian countries were ranked as having low development of human potential. Turkmenistan came in 109th.Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan were ranked 119th and 120th, respectively, and Tajikistan came in at 127th on the list. The report is based on statistics from two years ago, and therefore does not reflect the effects of the current global economic crisis.

Commenting on the report, Kyrgyz Vice-President Uktomkhan Abdullaeva asserted that migration is a more positive than negative phenomenon, and that the government needed to take additional measures to make it even more positive a factor in national development.


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