A developed country is one that boasts features such as a mature and varied economy, a stable and functional government, a robust infrastructure, a strong educational system, ample job opportunities, comprehensive health and social services, and a high degree of personal freedom. Countries that fall slightly short of these goals are classified as developing countries. Those that fall far short are designated the least developed countries and become eligible for specific United Nations assistance programs.
The most widely used and respected measure of a country's development status is the United Nations' annual Human Development Index (HDI). This advanced metric tracks a wide range of indicators, from Adult Literacy Rate and Life Expectancy to Income Inequality and Mobile Phone Subscriptions, then compiles them all into a number between 0.00 and 1.00. This score slots each country into one of four different classifications: low human development (0 to .55), medium human development (.55 to .70), high human development (.70 to .80), and very high human development (.80 to 1.00).
Sixty-six countries scored .80 or higher in the 2021/22 HDI, qualifying them for "developed" status. However, Africa is the least-developed continent other than Antarctica, with many of its countries still mired in issues including poverty, government corruption, and armed conflict. As of the 2021/22 HDI, only one of Africa's 54 countries, Mauritius, is considered to have "very high human development." On the bright side, eight African countries have "high human development", and could reach the Very High plateau soon.
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The island country of Mauritius is Africa's most developed country with an HDI of .802, which just clears the "very high human development" threshold. Mauritius boasts a life expectancy of 75 years and a literacy rate of 91.3%, and is known for its advanced economy and free heath care and schooling. Globally, Mauritius still ranks 66th out of 189 countries examined, which illustrates the gap between Africa and the other continents, but other African countries can draw inspiration from the country's success.
Seychelles (.785) lands right behind Mauritius. The country's economic growth is mainly driven by tourism, and its GDP has increased nearly sevenfold since 1976. The third most developed country in Africa, Algeria has an HDI score of .745 and currently possesses the highest life expectancy of all African countries.
The island country of Mauritius is the most developed country on the continent of Africa.