Development of OIC Compared to Non-OIC Countries

By Anisah Musa

According to conventional development frameworks, there are three types;

  1. Human Development.
  2. Social Development
  3. Sustainable Development

I decided to chose only one type of framework; the Human Development Framework.

The main references that were used are: Human Development Index (HDI) Report 2016 and few indicators under Islamic Human Development Index (I-HDI) by Hendrie Anto (2009) as a proxy for the same area of HDI.

No Selected Areas Between OIC Countries Between Non-OIC Countries
1 Human Development  Index (2015)


-Longevity, Literacy and Real purchasing power

-Brunei became the OIC countries’ champion of HDI (30th rank)


Interestingly, all the 6 OIC countries under ‘very high human development’ category are oil rich countries


-Most of OIC countries included in ‘low human development’ category come from African region. OIC countries in Asian region performed better compared to other region

-Under ‘very high human development’ category, only 6 OIC countries included out of 51 countries across the world.


It is very obvious that non-OIC countries perform better in this category


-Under ‘low human development’ category, 21 OIC countries included out of 38 countries.


Sadly, OIC countries dominated this category with the last rank also comes from OIC country; Burkina Faso

2 Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index


-Measure human development level when  taking into account inequality

It is quite hard to make comparisons because certain OIC countries’ inequality index are absent.


It is of high doubt that all the 6 OIC countries necessarily scored better in this index compared to perhaps their counterparts under ‘high human development’ category. Note that there are no data from these countries for this indicator


Nevertheless, the worst OIC country in terms of inequality is Republic of Chad with value of 0.327.


I-HDI (Distributional Equity Index)


Libya and Somalia scored highest; 1.139 whilst Mali scored the lowest; 0.


Under I-HDI, Chad also ranked among the worst performer with 0.111 index, similar to HDI result. Note that in this index, we found out that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE scored more than 0.9,  although there is no data regarding inequality in HDI.

Under ‘very high human development’ category, the inequality- adjusted HDI for all 6 OIC countries are absent. UNDP claimed that the relevant data in these countries for this indicator is not sufficient.


-Kazakhstan is the first OIC countries that has the inequality index . Its adjusted rank is 53. Approximately 50 non-OIC countries performed better than our inequality champion.


-Under ‘low human development’ category, we can see that most OIC countries here scored on average, 0.3. This value depicts that these OIC countries suffer higher inequality compared to most non-OIC countries

3 Multidimensional Poverty Index


– Incorporate the variety deprivations that developing countries’ citizens face in their living standards, health and education.

Between OIC countries, there are vast difference in terms of populations living in multidimensional poverty. While in Niger, this rate reaches approximately 90%, in Kazakhstan this rate is merely 1%.


In the article entitled ‘CCO Brief on Poverty Alleviation’, it is quoted that


‘The contribution of deprivation in education to overall poverty for the OIC Region is between 3.7 percent (Uzbekistan) and 50.1 percent (Iraq). The same range for the contribution of deprivation in health to overall poverty is between 20.3 percent (Mauritania) and 83.9 percent (Kazakhstan), and for the contribution of deprivation in living standards to overall poverty is between 3.5 percent (Jordan) and 51.9 percent (Uganda)’ [p.3]


Interesting point to note that the poor citizens in Kazakhstan are severely deprived due to health services deficiency

Most countries that score above 0.5 belong to OIC countries for instance Chad, Niger and Somalia. Out of 6 countries that surpassed 0.5 score, Niger had the worst score.


This means that OIC countries’ citizens face multiple  deprivations in health, standard of living and education, more severe than their non-OIC counterparts.

4 Health Outcomes


– Measure infant, child and adult health as well as quality of healthcare

Between OIC countries, there are also vast difference in terms of ‘life expectancy at age 60’ indicator. The best performer among the OIC countries which is Brunei scored 8.4 years more than the worst performer; Sierra Leone.


However, it is interesting to note that one OIC country (Kuwait) that belongs to ‘very high human development’ scored lower than 2 OIC countries (Sudan and Syria) that belongs to low human development


I-HDI (Life Expectancy Index)


Sierra Leone also ranked as the worst performer in this index as it scored 0 whilst UAE became the best performer with 1 index. However, in I-HDI (2009), Kuwait (0.9723) perform better than Syria (0.871) and Sudan (0.427)

For ‘very high human development’ category, Japan and Hong Kong performed better than OIC country’s first rank (Brunei) in indicator life expectancy at age 60. While the latter only achieved 21.4, the former’s citizens are expected to live 25.8 years more after the age of 60. Surprisingly, Kuwait scored the lowest in this category which is 17.7.


Under ‘low human development’ category’, OIC country which is Sierra Leone scored the lowest; 13 for this indicator.


5 Education Achievements


-Measure quality of education and standard education

The performance of all OIC countries that belongs to ‘very high human development’ are considerably good as all surpassed 90% rate in terms of adult literacy.


However, the good performance had not been utilised to help out their other counterparts in OIC countries such as Niger, Burkina Faso, Afghanistan in which having more than 50% of their adults not being able to read.


It is interesting that the financial aid that had been transferred to the poor OIC countries from their rich counterparts did not manage to develop and enhance their education.


I-HDI (Education Index,EI )


For this indicator, Turkmenistan scored the highest with 0.991 index whilst the lowest EI belongs to Somalia (0)


In I-HDI, Niger also positioned as among the worst performer group (0.044)

When we observe the extreme low category, 10 OIC countries out of 13 countries across the world that belong to less than 50% adult literacy rate group.


It is even worrying when we acknowledge that the worst performer for this indicator comes from OIC country too; Niger. Only 19.1% adults in Niger that can read.


This two positions reflects the poor performance of OIC countries in this area and low government attention to education received by their citizens.

6 National Income and Composition of Resources


-Measure several macroeconomic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP), gross fixed capital formation, and taxes on income, profit and capital gain as percentage of total tax revenue

The difference between the best performer (Qatar; $135 322) and the worst performer (Burundi; $693) in GDP per capita indicator is enormously big which is $134629.


The lowest among the OIC countries in the ‘very high human development’ category surpassed $40 000 GDP per capita whilst the highest among the OIC countries in the ‘low human development’ category only achieved $2939 GDP per capita.If we convert it into monthly figure, the latter might just has $327.25 to survive.


I-HDI (GDP Index)


Brunei achieved the highest score; 1 index whilst Niger achieved minimum score of 0.

Under ‘very high human development’ category, Qatar became the best performer when compared with all its other counterparts in terms of GDP per capita as it achieved $135,322.


However, for the ‘low human development’ category, 2 OIC countries out of 5 countries , have GDP per capita of less than $1000.

From the above tables, we can conclude the performance of the OIC countries, as well as its causes.

Overall, OIC countries performed worst than their counterparts under non-OIC countries but they have so much potential to be better. In terms of performance between OIC countries, there is large gap between rich and poor OIC countries. Based on the table above, I had analysed and come out with 3 factors that entail this situation;



  1. Undermines the role of human capital

As mentioned in the book by Prof Ataul Huq (1997)  entitled ‘Human Development with Dignity’, certain OIC countries for instance Nigeria, Pakistan and Bangladesh put initial priorities on physical capital which somehow caused short term development improvement. However, this short term impact eventually entailed deprivations of certain members of the economy from both material and non-material needs.In contrast, in the West and Tiger Economies (Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea),they had shifted their focus from effective utilization of physical capital to human capital as the key strategy for growth decades ago.  As a result of this key strategy, these particular countries experienced long run sustainable growth although initially begin with poor command of physical capital.

This clearly reflects that certain OIC countries had mistakenly chose the wrong priority. It has been so long that OIC countries had this kind of perspectives whereby they treat human beings as the means and not as a subject for development effort (Ataul Huq, 1997). This had caused them to face the results of poor human capital formation. Even though OIC countries in ‘very high human development’ category (HDI) seems to score very high in terms of adult literacy rate, they still face the education and knowledge gap. They are not trained with the right skills or capabilities and not many people get the chance to pursue higher education level. As an aftermath, their high income has not been translated into more extensive human progress. One more thing, in ‘Political Economy of Development’ by Prof Ataul Huq, Saudi Arabia actually reluctant to increase the access to higher education for larger population of citizens as there are possibilities that they might oppose the government.

In addition, OIC countries are rich with human resources. However, certain OIC countries had underutilised their abundant human resources as there are lack of training in terms of education, technology etc in the economy. Something that is worth highlighting is that there should be more rigorous effort by rich OIC countries to help out their poor counterparts by investing on their human capital development.

  1. Poor leadership and governance

Certain OIC countries are acknowledged because they are the ones that climbing up the ladder topping the corruption performance. The worst performer group in Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is dominated by OIC countries. Certain leaders in government of OIC countries and those in private sectors also practiced giving and accepting bribes. Those who involved in corruption are regarded as possessing bad leadership and governance as they practiced injustice and no integrity.

This unending and rampant corruption had posed great threat to the human development of OIC countries as it leads to unequal distribution of wealth and prevailing high poverty level. Now , we might question, where is the link? Firstly, as the leaders corrupt, they might caused the investment projects in particular industry being dominated by their crony. This will hinder competition and chances for other firms to prosper. As a result, only ‘preferred’ crony firms which normally large and wealthy firms will remain wealthier and might kill certain infant but high potential firms. This will actually perpetuate the high number of population in  poverty as a result of workers laid off.

Good leadership and governance is actually key for the betterment of OIC countries. However, certain citizens of OIC countries had actually lose their hope on the betterment of their countries as they believed those in power will do anything to remain in power. They thought that they cannot change anything. Nevertheless, little did they know that the change can starts from themselves, which means their own individual capacity. Muslims should lead their individual self first and then their small family which eventually will lead organizations and in the future, certain of them will be given the right positions to affect at a macro scale. They forgot to actualize what Allah taught us in the Quran;

‘Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves (individual self)’


  1. Lack of integration and cooperation between OIC countries

When we observe the GDP per capita for all 6 OIC countries in ‘very high human development’ category, we then wonder how come this extremely high GDP are not translated into some impactful actions on their poor counterparts. In  ‘Political Economy of Development’ by Prof Ataul Huq, he claimed that although Kuwait grant highest portion of aid to the poor Muslim countries if compared to other countries, the portion is actually very small. They reluctant to actually invest in the latter due to lack of good infrastructure and geographically disadvantaged  features. Not only that,OIC did not integrate much in terms of economic development or international trade and prefer the so called ‘best non-OIC economies’ despite they might undermine the vast potentials in their counterparts of OIC. Their privilege of high capital had not benefited much in terms of integration and cooperation with other OIC countries. I believe, instead of just giving aids, these rich OIC countries should plan well in assisting the underprivileged OIC countries despite the help might not result in great profit for them.

The rich OIC countries can invest in human capital and helped to modernize the agriculture sector in poor OIC countries. This kind of cooperation seems to be burdensome if the former view this from short term perspectives and only material side of it. The value of brotherhood should be actualised more and intensive research should be done to find out practical ways to n reduce the reliancy of certain Arab countries on US and West.




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