Citizens Becoming Poorer, Says UN
Nov 03, 2011 (Menafn - The Nation/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) --Ms Hilda Ndung'u, 31, has just slipped another rung down on the social ladder as the cost of living in Kenya continues to rise.
The doubling of the cost of cooking gas, among other commodities, in the last few months sent the expectant mother of one to resort to charcoal for fuel.
She is not happy with the direction her life is taking, she says.
Ms Ndung'u who together with the husband earn Sh35,000 a month, are among some 30 million Kenyans who say they are not satisfied with their lives.
Only about four out of 10 Kenyans are satisfied with their lives according to the United Nations Human Development 2011 report released on Wednesday in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Kenya, according to the new global human development index, is ranked 143rd out of 187 countries, which are led by Norway with the Democratic Republic of Congo at the bottom.
Tanzania is ranked 152 and Uganda 161. The report "Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All" argues that living standards in most countries have been rising in recent decades but forecasts disturbing trends if environmental deterioration and social inequalities continue to intensify.
Now using what the report calls "dirty" cooking fuel (dung, wood or charcoal), Mrs Ndung'u joins almost 20 million Kenyans who cannot afford modern fuels.
The Human Development Index measures whether a country is able to provide its people with basic requirements which would enable them live a long and healthy life, access knowledge and experience a decent standard of living.
Many Kenyans, the report shows, are not meeting all or several of basic life requirements with only four per cent having access to post secondary education and life expectancy standing at about 57 years compared to 83 years in Japan.
Almost half of Kenyans are indicated to be poor with about 20 per cent totally deprived of means to a decent living.
The report also blames the rich for climate change and environmental degradation.
"Runaway growth in consumption among the best-off people in the world is putting unprecedented pressure on the environment," say the report released by Helen Clark of UNDP and the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning.
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