One of the reasons that the process of development garners so much attention is the stark divide between rich (developed) and poor (developing) countries. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) rates countries’ development annually according to its Human Development Index (HDI), which includes measurements of citizens’ access to healthcare, educational attainment, and standards of living, among other factors.
During 2012, the five countries with the highest HDI rankings were Norway, Australia, United States, Netherlands and Germany, while the five countries with the lowest rankings were Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Chad and Burkina Faso, all African countries. In fact, 37 of the 46 states ranked as having low human development are located in Africa. In contrast, 32 of the 47 states considered to be very high human development are found in Europe (Human Development Report 2013). As these figures demonstrate, development is often a highly localized issue, leading to great wealth disparities between distinct global regions.