Valuable Insights and Findings of the 2023/2024 Human Development Report and Its correlation to Nigeria’s Human Development Index

March 20, 2024


Despite possessing unprecedented wealth, knowledge, and digital connectivity at global, regional, and national levels, we find ourselves stuck in achieving equitable human progress, sustainable development, and the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. The 2023–2024 UNDP Human Development Report (HDR) provides valuable insights into these pressing questions, offering analysis of the performance of 193 countries, including Nigeria.

One would ask, what is Human Development? At its core, human development focuses on expanding people's choices and capabilities, enabling them to live valuable lives and achieve their full potential. It goes beyond measures of economic growth, to include broader indicators of progress and quality of life, while also ensuring the sustainability of development efforts for future generations.

The new Human Development Report titled “Breaking the Gridlock: Reimagining cooperation in a polarized world” unveils a troubling trend: the rebound in the global Human Development Index (HDI), which reflects a country’s Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, education, and life expectancy, has been partial, incomplete, and unequal.

In the last Human Development Report, the world experienced the unprecedented occurrence of a drop in the global Human Development Index (HDI) for two consecutive years—2020 and 2021—following two decades of progress. However, in 2022, the global HDI value rebounded to its 2019 level, with some HDI indicators surpassing their pre-2019 values. The 2023/2024 Human Development Report shows that the path of human development progress which shifted downwards in 2020 have remained below the pre-2019 trend, threatening to entrench permanent losses in human development gains, as none of the developing regions have met their anticipated #HDI levels based on pre-2019 trends.

For Nigeria, the HDI has shown a 22% increase in 19 years but remains low at 0.548, categorizing the country as having low human development. The report emphasizes Nigeria's significant loss in HDI due to inequality, estimated at 32.7%. Gender disparities persist, with a notable gap between male and female HDI values and a Gender Inequality Index (GII) ranking placing Nigeria poorly. Furthermore, Nigeria's Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) indicates that 33% were multidimensionally poor in 2021. 


Why are we still stuck in a gridlock?

The new HDR suggests that polarization and mismanagement of cross-border interdependencies lie at the heart of our current gridlock, hindering our ability to capitalize on global connections and address shared challenges swiftly. This polarization exacerbates contemporary issues such as debt distress in many low- and middle-income countries, threats to food security, and a widespread feeling of disempowerment globally. The report also reveals that Ideological divides hinder our ability to address shared problems swiftly, creating barriers to international cooperation and exacerbating common challenges. 

At every level, from local to global, we're witnessing a concerning erosion of trust. Polarization and ideological divisions are driving societies apart, creating opposing factions, and undermining both domestic and international cooperation. This toxic dynamic hamper progress on shared goals and perpetuates gridlock, making it imperative for us to find common ground and foster unity to address pressing challenges effectively. The report underscores the urgency to change course, warning that failure to do so may prevent the world from recovering from the decline in human progress. The consequences of remaining in “gridlock” are dire, resulting in more lives lost, missed opportunities, and heightened feelings of despair.

How do we change course? 

Addressing shared global challenges such as inequality or climate change requires collective action. No country can succeed in tackling them on its own. But increasing polarization pulls us apart and stops us from working together. The report urges us to prioritize cooperation over conflict and dialogue over division, emphasizing three key ideas: bridge divides by creating spaces for dialogue, empower individuals to pursue human security aspirations without protectionism and develop a modern framework for global cooperation, focusing on delivering essential public goods for equitable flourishing.

The Report highlights that solutions to our challenges are within reach. By reimagining cooperation and uniting for progress, we can achieve sustainable development. Aligned with this context, UNDP's support in Nigeria aims to assist decision-makers in altering their trajectory and expediting progress towards 2030. 


Our efforts focus on six main areas:

Trade, Investment, and Inclusive Economic Growth.

Climate Resilience and Energy Transition.

Youth, Entrepreneurship, and Job Creation.

Inclusive and Gender-Sensitive Governance, Security, and Peacebuilding.

Digitalization, Innovation, and Knowledge Economy (DIKE).

Strategic Policy & SDG Integration and Acceleration.

These programs are implemented through an integrated approach at both federal and state levels, leveraging synergies and complementarities among our offerings. Our active investments in Nigeria's energy transition, renewable energy sectors, and readiness for initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and digital transformation are already underway. These efforts are focused on aggressive youth empowerment and driving progress across the country.