Dr Jason Musyoka, a former Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Pretoria and now associate researcher at the Centre for Mediation in Africa (CMA) at UP has been appointed to lead the development of the 9th Human Development Report (HDR) for Kenya - the fourth largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa and the largest in East and Central Africa.
Focusing on well-being and expansion of human capabilities, the HDR was launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1990, to reflect ongoing concerns on the limits of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of development. The invention of GDP as a measure of national income is attributed to American Economist Simon Kuznets in the 1930s, although it was defined by John Maynard Keynes about a decade later. Starting from Kuznets, there is a long-standing critique of GDP as inadequate in measuring non-market transactions such as welfare, well-being, inequalities and more recently environmental degradation. The HDR, which employs a number of well-being indicators (which make up the Human Development Index) was developed to address these glaring (GDP) anomalies.
In 2010, the Human Development Report Office (HDRO) introduced the Inequality adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI), locating inequality in mainstream measurement of human progress. An additional measurement, the gender development index, was introduced in 2014.
The theme for Kenya’s 9th HDR is “Human Development in the COVID-19 Era: Envisioning the Recovery in Kenya for Social-Economic Development”. The theme responds to the devastating impact of Covid-19 on Human Development not just in Kenya but around the world. In Kenya, Real GDP contracted by 5.7% in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the 5.3% growth recorded in the second quarter of 2019. Year on year estimates recorded a 4% decline on food insecurity and poverty in 2020, with labor participation falling significantly. These economic shocks dealt a major blow to human progress in Kenya and globally. Sustainable growth and recovery of the Kenyan economy (and the global economy) require innovative policies which seek to address both GDP and HDI indicators.
Working with UNDP Kenya and the National Treasury, Dr Musyoka and his team are tasked with analysing Human Development data and computing Human Development Indices to develop a data-based policy report, which will guide the country’s policy debate, and, government planning & budget.
Dr Musyoka’s appointment by the UNDP to lead the development of Kenya’s 9th HDR comes shortly after his appointment by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to develop the Migration Profile for Mauritius.