Karachi Tops Human Development Charts in Pakistan

While Pakistan's HDI of 0.504 (2011) ranks it among UNDP's low human development countries, its largest city Karachi's HDI of 0.7885 (2005) is closer to the group of nations given high human development rankings.

In a regional human development analysis for Pakistan done by Haroon Jamal and Amir Jahan Khan of the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), Karachi ranks at the top with HDI of 0.7885, followed by Jhelum district's 0.7698 and Haripur's 0.7339. Lahore has HDI score of 0.6882 and Rawalpindi 0.638.

Majority of the nations ranked as high human development are less populated than Karachi with its 15 million+ inhabitants, and none is experiencing the massive waves of poor rural migrants from some of the least developed areas of Pakistan which Karachi continues to absorb after each disaster in other parts of the country, natural or otherwise.

Karachi often makes news for its recurring episodes of violence which claim many innocent lives. Yet, the city continues to be a big draw for large numbers of rural migrants looking for better economic opportunities. In spite of the many problems they face, it's a fact that even the slums in Karachi offer them better access to education and health care--basic ingredients for human development.

When visitors see a squatter city in India or Pakistan or Bangladesh, they observe overwhelming desperation: rickety shelters, little kids working or begging, absence of sanitation, filthy water and air. However, there are many benefits of rural to urban migration for migrants' lives, including reduction in abject poverty, empowerment of women, increased access to healthcare and education and other services. Historically, cities have been driving forces in economic and social development. As centers of industry and commerce, cities have long been centers of wealth and power. They also account for a disproportionate share of national income. The World Bank estimates that in the developing world, as much as 80 percent of future economic growth will occur in towns and cities. Nor are the benefits of urbanization solely economic. Urbanization is associated with higher incomes, improved health, higher literacy, and improved quality of life. Other benefits of urban life are less tangible but no less real: access to information, diversity, creativity, and innovation.

In a 2009 interview published by Wired Magazine, Stewart Brand, "the pioneering environmentalist, technology thinker", and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog summed up the positive aspects of urban slums, and made a counterintuitive case that the booming slums and squatter cities in and around Mumbai, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro are net positives for poor people and the environment. Wired asked him to elaborate. Here are a few excerpts:

Wired: What makes squatter cities so important?

Stewart Brand: That's where vast numbers of humans—slum dwellers—are doing urban stuff in new and amazing ways. And hell's bells, there are a billion of them! People are trying desperately to get out of poverty, so there's a lot of creativity; they collaborate in ways that we've completely forgotten how to do in regular cities. And there's a transition: People come in from the countryside, enter the rickshaw economy, and work for almost nothing. But after a while, they move uptown, into the formal economy. The United Nations did extensive field research and flipped from seeing squatter cities as the world's great problem to realizing these slums are actually the world's great solution to poverty.

Wired: Why are they good for the environment?

Brand: Cities draw people away from subsistence farming, which is ecologically devastating, and they defuse the population bomb. In the villages, women spend their time doing agricultural stuff, for no pay, or having lots and lots of kids. When women move to town, it's better to have fewer kids, bear down, and get them some education, some economic opportunity. Women become important, powerful creatures in the slums. They're often the ones running the community-based organizations, and they're considered the most reliable recipients of microfinance loans.

Wired: How can governments help nurture these positives?

Brand: The suffering is great, and crime is rampant. We made the mistake of romanticizing villages, and we don't need to make that mistake again. But the main thing is not to bulldoze the slums. Treat the people as pioneers. Get them some grid electricity, water, sanitation, crime prevention. All that makes a huge difference.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performace

Eleven Days in Karachi

Citymayors website

Karachi Demographic Trends Worry MQM

Pakistan Most Urbanized in South Asia

Karachi: The Urban Frontier

Do Asia's Urban Slums Offer Hope?

Orangi is Not Dharavi

Climate Change Could Flood Karachi Coastline

Karachi Fourth Cheapest For Expats

Karachi City Government

Karachi Dreams Big

Views: 1151

Comment by Riaz Haq on November 28, 2011 at 7:46pm

Here's a NY Times report on Lancet study of child pneumonia home treatment by Pakistan's lady health workers:

Letting “lady health workers” in rural northern Pakistan treat children with severe pneumonia in their homes worked better than the established practice of telling parents to take them to a hospital, a new study has found.

The study, published in The Lancet this month, followed 1,857 children who were treated at home with oral amoxicillin for five days and 1,354 children in a control group who were given standard care: one dose of oral cotrimoxazole and instructions to go to the nearest hospital or clinic.

The home-treated group had only a 9 percent treatment-failure rate, while the control group children failed to improve 18 percent of the time.

Some parents could not afford to take their children to hospitals, which were often understaffed.

Researchers from Save the Children, the World Health Organization and Boston University did the study, which was financed by the United States Agency for International Development. Pneumonia is a major killer of infants and toddlers.

Pakistan’s network of 90,000 “lady health workers” was founded in 1994 by Benazir Bhutto, then the prime minister.

“It’s one of the best community-based health systems in the world,” said Dr. Donald Thea, a Boston University researcher who was one of the authors.

A Lancet editorial cautioned that not all local health workers are as well trained and supervised as Pakistan’s and that since northern Pakistan has a low AIDS rate, it would be wrong to assume that every country would do as well with such a system.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/health/home-care-best-for-child-p...

Comment by Riaz Haq on December 1, 2011 at 9:52pm

Rising per capita income and a growing, young population spending more time online and at Western movies are helping build a mass market in Pakistan, according to Businessweek: One way to take a city’s economic pulse is to check out where locals shop. In Karachi, Pakistan, shoppers are flocking to Port Grand, which opened in May. Built as a promenade by the historic harbor for almost $23 million, the center caters to Pakistanis eager to indulge themselves. This city of 20 million has seen more than 1,500 deaths from political and sectarian violence from January to August. At Port Grand the only hint of the turmoil is the presence of security details and surveillance cameras. “The whole world is going through a new security environment,” says Shahid Firoz, 61, Port Grand’s developer. “We have to be very conscious of security just as any other significant facility anywhere in the world needs to be.” Young people stroll the promenade eating burgers and fries and browsing through 60 stores and stalls that sell everything from high fashion to silver bracelets to ice cream. Ornate benches dot a landscaped area around a 150-year-old banyan tree. “Port Grand is something fresh for the city, very aesthetically pleasing and unique,” says Yasmine Ibrahim, a 25-year-old Lebanese American who is helping set up a student affairs office at a new university in Karachi. One-third of Pakistan’s 170 million people are under the age of 15, which means the leisure business will continue to grow, says Naveed Vakil, head of research at AKD Securities. Per capita income has grown to $1,254 a year in June from $1,073 three years ago. The appetite for things American is strong despite the rise in tensions between the two allies. Hardee’s opened its first Karachi outlet in September: In the first few days customers waited for hours. It plans to open 10 more restaurants in Pakistan in the next two and a half years, says franchisee Imran Ahmed Khan. U.S. movies are attracting crowds to the recently opened Atrium Cinemas, which would not be out of place in suburban Chicago. Current features include The Adventures of Tintin and the latest Twilight Saga installment. Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol is coming soon. Operator Nadeem Mandviwalla says the cinema industry in Pakistan is growing 30 percent a year. Exposure to Western lifestyles through cable television and the Internet is raising demand for these goods and services. Pakistan has 20 million Internet users, compared with 133,900 a decade ago, while 25 foreign channels, such as CNN (TWX) and BBC World News, are now available. And for many Pakistanis, reruns of the U.S. sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond are a regular treat. The bottom line: With per capita income rising quickly, Pakistan is developing a mass market eager for Western goods. http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/pakistans-consumers-flex-their...

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 27, 2012 at 11:11pm

Here's an excerpt from Javed Burki's ET Op Ed on internal migration in Pakistan:

One reason for this may be that the rural poor choose to relocate themselves in the urban areas in the expectation that more jobs will be available in the urban economy. Economists call this the ‘push factor’ when poor economic conditions in the place of residence persuades people to move to the areas where there may be better prospects for finding jobs. Opposite to this is the ‘pull factor’ when it is known that better paying jobs are available in a particular geographic space some distance away from the place of residence.

The push factor is independent of the amount of distance travelled by those who choose to move out. Short distance migration especially in southern Punjab is an example of the push factor. One result of this is that poverty simply gets exported from one place to the other. Just by moving out, the migrants help those who remain behind. However, they bring down average incomes by moving into the urban areas that don’t have many opportunities to offer. This appears to have happened in the case of the southern districts of Punjab.

For some reason, those discouraged by their circumstances in the countryside as are the people in the southern districts of Punjab province, have preferred to relocate in the nearby towns and cities. They seem to avoid long-distance migration. There are, accordingly, relatively few people from these districts in the well-populated Pakistani diasporas in the Middle East, Britain and North America. A good example is out-migration from Gujrat district situated on the border of central and northern Punjab. The people from this district are to be found in many distant places. They constitute the bulk of the Pakistani population now resident permanently in Norway. I was once told by the Norwegian ambassador to Pakistan that one percent of her country’s population was made up of Pakistanis. In Oslo, the country’s capital, Pakistanis accounted for 10 per cent of the population. Most of these people were from Gujrat district.

Outmigration from Gujrat to Europe offers some interesting insights not only for understanding why people move but also of the choice of their destinations. Once it was appreciated in the district that migration was an important and effective contributor to poverty alleviation, people began to look actively for the opportunities that were available. The Gujratis took advantage of the path discovered by illegal migrants from North Africa to Spain to join this stream of migration. There is now a fairly large community in Barcelona of the people from this district.

Karachi’s growth, on the other hand, is a good example of the pull factor. Millions of people who have left their homes in such poor areas as the tribal regions of Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa (K-P) and the barani areas of north Punjab and Azad Kashmir and moved to Karachi. By doing so, they have generally improved their economic situation. They also help the places from which they come by sending back remittances. These have become important contributors to the incomes of the areas such as North Punjab and K-P. Although in its Punjab study the IPP did not do work on the impact of remittances on economic and social development, there is good reason to argue that this must have been positive.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/384904/migration-and-economic-backwardn...

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 20, 2018 at 9:26pm

Punjab fares much better than other provinces in human development

https://www.geo.tv/latest/196173-punjab-fares-much-better-than-othe...

Lahore was the highest ranked city of Pakistan on the HDI with 0.877, followed by Islamabad and then Rawalpindi. Four out of six cities of Punjab feature on the list of high human development including Rawalpindi (0.871), Sialkot (0.834) and Jhelum *0.829).

Moreover, only one city from Sindh, Karachi, makes it to the high human development list with 0.854.

The high medium human development rankings include 18 cities from Punjab, four cities from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and one city from Sindh (Hyderabad).

Eleven cities each from Punjab and KP make it to the list of medium human development, which also includes four cities from Sindh and one from Balochistan (Quetta).

Very low human development includes 14 cities from Balochistan, two from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Tor Ghar and Kohistan)and one from Sindh (Tharparkar). 

Pakistan itself ranks in the medium human development category of the global rankings.

'KP excels other provinces over next three years'
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter said the UNDP report exposed propaganda by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

The report is an analysis of first 18 months of the incumbent government, the PTI KP chapter said in a statement, which it said was even less than first two years of the government.

"The stats of five years cannot encompass first two years," the statement said, adding that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has surpassed rest of the provinces in performance and human development over the next three years.

Over the next three years, 4 KP districts progressed in terms of human development, compared to 3 districts in Punjab, 2 in Balochistan and 1 in Sindh, it said.

The PTI KP chapter said that under the tenure of Pakistan Peoples Party-led government in Sindh, 6 out of 10 Sindh districts fell prey to worst governance in the province.

The PML-N, which came to power in Punjab six times, has been perplexed over the performance of PTI's first-ever government in KP, the statement added.

Comment

You need to be a member of PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network to add comments!

Join PakAlumni Worldwide: The Global Social Network

Pre-Paid Legal


Twitter Feed

    follow me on Twitter

    Sponsored Links

    South Asia Investor Review
    Investor Information Blog

    Haq's Musings
    Riaz Haq's Current Affairs Blog

    Please Bookmark This Page!




    Blog Posts

    Solar Power Boom in Pakistan

    Falling solar panel prices and soaring rates for grid electricity are driving a renewable power boom in Pakistan. A second factor spurring the growth in clean energy installations is the requirement of major western apparel brands for garments and textile manufacturers to switch to clean energy. As a result, the solar panel imports in the country jumped from 2,800 MW in 2022 to 5,000 MW in 2023, in…

    Continue

    Posted by Riaz Haq on July 10, 2024 at 12:30pm — 2 Comments

    Pakistani Stock Market is the World's Best Performing Market in 2024

    Pakistan's KSE-100 shares index topped 80,000 points on Wednesday as stocks climbed more than 600 points, making it the world's best performing stock market. The benchmark KSE-100 index has posted an annual return of 89% during FY24 (July 2023-June 2024) in PKR terms while in US dollar terms, the return was 94%, as the Pakistani rupee appreciated against the US dollar, according to …

    Continue

    Posted by Riaz Haq on July 4, 2024 at 6:00pm — 2 Comments

    © 2024   Created by Riaz Haq.   Powered by

    Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service