Jul 24, 2012
Location a key determinant of SA’s opportunity inequality – reportBack
Johannesburg|Salvador|Africa|Education|Water|Africa|El Salvador|Honduras|Nicaragua|South Africa|Bank|Electricity|Health Insurance|Healthcare|Services|Solutions|Ambar Narayan|Infrastructure|Water
© Reuse this
The finding emerged though the application of the bank’s Human Opportunity Index (HOI) methodology, which uses public domain statistics to measure inequality of opportunity in a society.
Poverty reduction and economic management network lead economist Ambar Narayan, who presented the findings in Johannesburg on Tuesday as part of the release of the bank’s biannual ‘South Africa Economic Update’, said the prevailing disparities in opportunity between a child living in a suburb as opposed to those in an urban township, or a rural village, were “huge”.
This spatial factor was a key determinant of the level of access a child had to basic infrastructure such as water, sanitation and electricity.
The second most important factor in the prevailing inequalities of opportunity related to the education of the head of the household, which typically determined the level of access to quality education and health insurance.
The report found that racial factors remained dominant, but that these diminished “once you take into account all the other circumstances”, such as parental education, location and the composition of a household. Nevertheless, the disparity among race groups in South Africa remained large.
The HOI analysis also showed that, while the coverage rate in the provision of services was important to encouraging more equality of opportunity, high coverage rates could also conceal variation in the quality of such services.
For instance, South Africa had near universal coverage in primary education, with school attendance being close to 100% and among the best among comparator countries.
However, the poor quality of education could be seen in the fact that only around 50% of those learners completed their primary schooling on time, which was similar to rates achieved in far poorer countries such as Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras.
The bank acknowledged that the country had improved from a low base, but Narayan noted that South Africa’s rate of progress between 2002 and 2010 had been “distinctly lower than the majority of Latin American countries and comparable with other sub-Saharan countries”.
On the yearly average rates of HOI-measured improvement in finishing primary school on time and access to safe water and improved sanitation, South Africa ranks sixteenth, fourteenth and eleventh, respectively, out of 23 countries. However, the country had outperformed in the area of electrification.
Similarly, in the labour market, inequality of opportunity in employment is high, while the situation was particularly challenging for young workers, as well as residents of townships, informal settlements and rural areas.
“An equitable society would not allow circumstances over which the individual has no control to influence her or his basic opportunities after birth. Whether a person is born a boy or a girl, black or white, in a township or leafy suburb, to an educated and well-off parent or otherwise should not be relevant to reaching his or her full potential,” the report notes.
But it also states that for an unequal society, such as South Africa, there were “no simple, elegant policy solutions in the quest for equity”.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Economy News
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
This Week's Magazine
Three-dimensional (3D) printers being sold in South Africa by electronics distributor Rectron currently print in two types of plastic, but have a clear upgrade path over the next five years to eventually print in wood, ceramics and metal-alloy materials, says Rectron...
The world’s two dominant commercial aircraft manufacturers, Airbus of Europe and Boeing of the US, both recently announced that they had made record aircraft deliveries in 2014. Boeing set a global record for the industry with 723 commercial aircraft delivered, while...
The Western Cape is shifting further into the renewable-energy space with the official opening of a factory specialising in solar inverters, a key component of solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. The investment in the manufacturing facility in Cape Town aims to boost the...
Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) last month welcomed Cabinet’s establishment of a technical team war room to undertake various interventions to improve electricity supply security over the short- and medium-term, but added that the private sector also had a...
Despite a rapid rise in mobile connections and the economic and social benefits of such connectivity, more than half of the world ended 2014 unconnected. For this reason, industry commentators believe the biggest impact of mobile technology is still to come –...