Swedish global health researcher Hans Rosling, of TedTalk ‘animated data’ fame, happens to have agriculture, health and nutrition in low-income countries as his life-long research focus.
It was thus inspired of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to video-tape him for their Delhi conference this week, Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health, introducing his passionate presentation of animated data on the progress the world’s countries have made over the last 200 years in terms of the length of their lifespans.
Just six decades ago, in 1948, Rosling explains, today’s Asia giants were still sick and poor. The world today, he says, still has huge differences between ‘the best and worst countries’, as well as huge inequalities within countries: China’s rich Shanghai Province, he says (and shows), has a level of health and wealth on a par with Italy, while China’s rural parts are on a level similar to that of Ghana, in West Africa.
‘Despite the enormous disparities today,’ he says, ‘we have seen 200 years of remarkable progress. That huge and historical gap between the West and the rest is now closing. We have become an entirely new, converging, world.’
Rosling ends his presentation with optimism. ‘I see a clear trend into the future, with aid, trade, green technology and peace, it’s fully possible that everybody can make it to the healthy, wealthy corner.’
Who can argue with that? Watch the video below.