Bahrain tops Gulf in education, healthcare
Manama, April 3, 2013
Bahrain has maintained its position as first in the Gulf for education and healthcare, according to the latest United Nations Human Development report.
It has been ranked 48 out of 187 in the survey, our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News quoted the UN report.
Entitled The Rise of the South, referring to the world's developing nations, it takes into account the three main sectors of society - gross national income, healthcare and education.
Countries are grouped into four human development categories and given a placement globally and a rank of either very high, high, medium or low.
Bahrain currently is ranked at the top of the high scale and 48th globally.
"Bahrain has ranked third in the GCC following Qatar and the UAE but on the non-income development index it ranks first," said United Nations resident co-ordinator Peter Grohmann as he launched the report at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel Residence and Spa.
"What this means is that Bahrain in terms of health and education is ranked above the rest of the GCC.
"This is because Bahrain from 1980 till now has an increase of 4.4 years of average schooling and the life expectancy from birth has risen from 69.6 years in 1980 to 75.2 years in 2012."
Grohmann said in the last year Bahrain had remained almost the same as last year despite the drop from 40th position last year to 48th this year, which he said was due to a different calculation method being used.
Being ranked 48 means that Bahrain is only one position away from being ranked in the very high ranking on the Global Development Index.
Although not included in the report, Grohmann said Bahrain's 2030 vision embodied the type of change needed to get a higher global rank.
"Bahrain still has room to improve in women equality, becoming more environmentally conscious and the creation of jobs in line with education," he said. "The inequality of women has improved but still has room to grow as only 18 per cent of parliament is occupied by women and 29.4 per cent of women are in the workforce.
"With an aging population globally, all countries including Bahrain need to focus on job creation to meet the number of those being educated. Bahrain is an industrial country highly dependent on fossil fuels, which means it has high level of carbon emissions which can slowly shift to becoming more environmentally friendly."
Norway, Australia and the US are leading the world, according to the report with Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique at the bottom.
Qatar ranked highest among the Arab countries in 36th position, followed by UAE 41st, Kuwait 54th, Saudi Arabia at 57th and Oman at 84th.
The UK was ranked 26th, Iran was ranked 76th, Pakistani 146th and India 136th.
Tamkeen chairman and Court of the Crown Prince adviser for political and economic affairs Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa said Bahrain should be proud of its achievement.
"There are challenges that we are facing in the country and we hope that the national dialogue will overcome these challenges," he said. "The Crown Prince has said we should aim high in the world and not just the Arab world."
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Under-Secretary for international affairs ambassador Karim Al Shakar and United Nations Information Centre director for Bahrain, Qatar and UAE Nejib Friji also spoke at the event.
Following the launch of the report a panel of scholars took part in a discussion about the implications of the report. – TradeArabia News Service