Kilifi, Kenya: A Swahili summary edition of the 2013 Human Development Report was launched here today by the United Nation Development Programme, marking the first time that UNDP’s flagship report has been available in the most widely spoken African language.
The launch was hosted by Pwani University on Kenya’s Indian Ocean shore, in the heart of the coastal region where Swahili originated. Swahili is now spoken by an estimated 150 million people and is an official national language in four countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Swahili is also an official working language of the African Union.
“Swahili is especially important in its ability to connect with the marginalized in society, including rural women and young people throughout East and Central Africa,” said Steven Ursino, the UNDP Resident Representative in Kenya.
“Having access to the Human Development Report in Swahili will help them to better understand today’s global challenges and to make their own contributions to solving these problems,” Ursino said.
The 2013 Human Development Report – “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World” – was launched globally in Mexico City in March 2013. The Human Development Report is published in its entirety in all six official UN languages – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – as well as German, Hindi, Japanese, and Portuguese.
The recent addition of Hindi to the library of complete language editions of the Human Development Report has widely expanded dissemination of the Report in India, where many state governments also regularly issue their own local Human Development Reports. Hindi is one of the five most widely spoken languages in the world, along with Mandarin Chinese, English, Spanish and Arabic.
Summary editions of the Human Development Report were also published in Bengali and Farsi for the first time in 2013. Summaries of the 2013 Report are available in print and on line in more than 20 languages, including Bengali, Danish, Italian, Farsi, Khmer, Norwegian, Swedish, and Vietnamese.
“The human development philosophy is all about expanding peoples’ choices and capabilities, and providing the Human Development Report to people in their own language is completely consistent with that approach,” said Khalid Malik, director of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office. “We are delighted to add Swahili to the growing family of Human Development Report languages.”