Indonesia has joined the group of countries with a high human development index (HDI) with scores 0.707 - Photo by UNDP Indonesia.

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Indonesia has joined the group of countries with a high human development index (HDI) with scores 0.707, according to a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) released on Tuesday (12/20). The scores placing Southeast Asia’s largest economy in the “high” category, joining Thailand and the Philippines.

The report shows between 1990 and 2018, Indonesia has shown steady progress in the HDI – from 0.525 to 0.707 – an increase of 34.6 percent, despite no gain in the ranking. Indonesia was ranked 111th out of 189 countries and regions, unchanged from the previous year.

Average life expectancy in the country is now 71.5 years and most Indonesians are expected to stay in school for 12.9 years, the report showed. Internet users in Indonesia make up 39.8 percent of the total population, similar to the percentage of skilled labors compared to the available labor force.

“Entering the group of countries with high development is a milestone for Indonesia. The achievement is the result of a strong commitment to human development, which includes not only economic growth but also community welfare, especially health and education,” UNDP Indonesia Representative Christophe Bahuet said in a statement.

The report also carries messages to be considered for Indonesia to further progress in human development, including the need to reduce existing gaps and to anticipate new inequalities in the future, Bahuet adds.

The index has 62 countries in the “very high” human development category. The next batch of countries until the 116th in the ranking is in the high category. The rest out of the total 189 countries are in the “medium” or “low level” categories.

Singapore is Southeast Asia’s top country at ninth in the ranking, joined by Brunei (43rd) and Malaysia (62nd) in the very high category. Thailand (77th) was the second most improved country after Ireland in the index, moving up 12 places between 2013 and 2018, according to the report.

The Philippines outclassed Indonesia to be 106th in the ranking. Vietnam (118th), Laos (140th), Myanmar (145th) and Cambodia (146th) belong to the group of countries with “medium” human development.

The report notes that in countries with very high human development, subscriptions to fixed broadband are growing 15 times faster and the proportion of adults with tertiary education is growing more than six times faster than in countries with low human development.

Overall, the Asia-Pacific region has witnessed the steepest rise globally in human development. The region leads the world in access to broadband Internet and is gaining on more developed regions in terms of life expectancy, education, and access to healthcare.

South Asia was the fastest-growing region with a 46 percent growth between 1990 and 2018, followed by East Asia and the Pacific with 43 percent. South Asia also saw the greatest leap in life expectancy and years of schooling.

While the gap in basic standards is narrowing, with an unprecedented number of people escaping poverty, hunger, and disease, necessities to thrive have evolved, the UNDP report says.

“The next generation of inequalities is opening up, particularly around technology, education, and the climate crisis. This is the new face of inequality,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.

The report stated that policies to enhance productivity alone are not enough, as the growing market power of employers is linked to a declining income share for workers and thus, antitrust and other policies are key to addressing imbalances of market power.

The report argues that taxation cannot be looked at on its own, but should be part of a system of policies, including public spending on health, education, and alternatives to a carbon-intensive lifestyle.

More and more, domestic policies are framed by global corporate tax discussions, highlighting the importance of new principles for international taxation, to help ensure fair play, avoid a race to the bottom in corporate tax rates, and to detect and deter tax evasion.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: