Gaborone- Botswana (PANA) -- Botswana's ranking in the UN Human Development assessment has fallen to its lowest position in 16 years due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The diamond-rich southern African country with a population of 1.
6 million is reputed to have the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the world with some estimates indicating that 36 percent of the population is infected.
According to the latest UNDP assessment human development assessment report launched in the capital Thursday, Botswana is ranked 114 amongst the countries surveyed, the same position it occupied in 1985.
In addition, the country's life expectancy is said to have been reduced from 67 years to about 41 years.
The report shows that in 1999, 35.
8 percent of adults between 15-49 years in Botswana were living with HIV/AIDS.
For the same age group, 150,000 were women while 10,000 children between 0-14 years lived with HIV/AIDS.
According to the report, between 1970 and 1975 the life expectancy at birth in Botswana was 53.
This figure dropped to 44.
4 years between 1995 and 2000.
The country, however, experienced a drastic fall in infant mortality per 1000 live births between 1970 and 1999.
The figure dropped from 99 per 1000 live births to 46 per live births.
Botswana is also doing well on the mortality rate of children under five years.
The number dropped from 142 per 1000 live births in 1970 to 59 in 1999.
Statistics, however, indicate that females more than men have a higher probability of surviving to 65 years at birth.
Females have 29.
6 percent chance as compared to men's 24.
According to the report, Botswana's life expectancy at birth in 1999 was about 42 years.
The country is, however, doing well in adult literacy for people aged 15 years and above which stands at 78.
9 and 73.
8 for females and males respectively.
The demographic trends indicate that whereas 12 percent of people lived in urban areas, in 1999 the figure increased to about 49.
It is projected that by 2015 the majority of Batswana will be living in urban areas (58.
In 1999, 42.
4 percent of the population was under the age of 15.
It is anticipated that by 2015 the number will have been reduced to 36.
This could be attributed to the AIDS epidemic, which is ravaging the country, with the youth being the most affected.
In 1999, 2.
7 percent of the population was made up of people over 65 years.
The number is expected to increase to 3.
9 percent in 2015.
The UNDP annually assesses countries on the indexes of life expectancy, educational environment, adult literacy and income per person.