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TOLOnews.com, December 26, 2015

Asia’s Least Developed Country Is Afghanistan: UN Report

This comes after the input of billions of US dollars into Afghanistan over the past 14 years but Afghanistan is still among the least developed countries

By Shakeela Ibrahimkhil

The United Nation's Human Development Office has ranked Afghanistan as 171, out of 188 countries, in the human development index.

The report has measured countries' development based on gender inequality, maternal mortality ratio, adolescent birth rate, share of seats in parliament, population with at least some secondary education and the labor force participation rate.

In this report, Côte d'Ivoire, Malawi and Ethiopia are after Afghanistan while Norway, Australia and Switzerland are the first, second and third place respectively.

Afghan woman begging with her children
Afghan woman begging with her children. (Photo: Demotix)

This comes after the input of billions of US dollars into Afghanistan over the past 14 years but Afghanistan is still among the least developed countries.

Meanwhile the Afghan government gave a number of reasons for this.

"Afghanistan's economy has been dependent on foreign aid over the past 13 years and the withdrawal of 120,000 [international] troops and 400,000 contractors has suppressed the country's economy, but what we have struggled to initiate was laying the foundation stone for permanent economic programs," said Sayed Zafar Hashemi, the president's deputy spokesman.

The report states that insecurity, poverty, endemic corruption and weak governance are the main reasons for hampering development in Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan's per capita income is at least $779 USD, and this country is in lower levels according to investment. Meanwhile, the country's agriculture is dependent on rain water and it has problems with imports; when these characteristics are measured, they place Afghanistan on the lowest parts of the list," said Hasib Muahid, deputy head of Central Statistics Organization.

Meanwhile, reports indicate that there are many families in the country that struggle to meet their daily expenses, and some of the people travel to neighboring countries to work and help improve their family's financial wellbeing.

Ghuncha Gul – the mother of a young boy and two girls – is part of one such family that are tired of living in poverty. Her husband now works in Iran in order to feed his family.

She says her young son is serving in the Afghan National Army (ANA) and that he was wounded seven months ago but he has not received three months salary.

"My son was in the army and he was wounded in Helmand seven months ago. They have paid three months of this salary but he has not received the salary for the other three months. My husband has had to go to Iran for work," she said.

"We have not bought firewood and coal for winter. We are in this house for two months but we have not paid its rent so far," she added.

According to statistics, at least 39.1 percent of Afghans live in poverty - a percentage higher than last year.

To read the full report click here.

Originally published on Dec. 15, 2015

Category: Poverty - Views: 5069