Belgium in EU top three for quality of life
16 July 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgium is the third best country in the EU for quality of life, according to new United Nations figures.
The UN’s Human Development Report 2004, which was released on Friday, ranks Belgium sixth in the world in terms of health and life expectancy, education and earnings.
The Belgians have an average life expectancy of 78.7 years and an average GDP per person of USD 27,570.
This places the Belgians in third place only to Sweden and the Netherlands within the European Union.
The figures show that a total of 55 countries have a good quality of living, 86 have average and 36 have weak standards.
For the fourth year running, Norway comes out on top of the Human development index, with a life expectancy of 78.9 years, 98 percent of its population educated and GDP at USD 36, 600 per inhabitant.
It is closely followed by Sweden, Australia and Canada.
Sierra Leone keeps its unenviable position at the bottom of the 177 countries charted by the UN Development Fund.
Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali also trail nearest the foot of the index and the bottom 19 countries listed are African.
Around 30 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan do not feature on the list due to insufficient information.
East Timor makes its debut this year, ranking at 158.
Of the 20 top countries, only Australia, Japan and New Zealand are not within Europe or North America.
The report stresses that development has stalled in sub-Saharan Africa due to the raging AIDS epidemic.
Thirteen countries have seen a real decline in this respect since the UNDP index began in 1990.
Life expectancy has dropped below 40 in eight countries, including Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, where people live on average half as long as the Japanese.
Twenty seven countries have been classified as an “absolute priority” for global aid.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news