Manufacturing still counts for less than one-fifth of both output and employment. More than half of all workers languish in low productivity agriculture, while another quarter or so are in low grade services. About 95% of all workers are in informal employment, and roughly half are self-employed. What’s more, the recognised and paid participation of women in working life has actually been declining in a period of rapid income growth.
This basic failure helps to explain several other failures of the development project so far: the persistence of widespread hunger and very poor nutrition indicators; the inadequate provision of basic needs like housing, electricity and other essential infrastructure; the poor state of health facilities for most people; and the slow expansion of education. Growing inequalities do mean that a rising middle class is emerging, but this should not blind us to the lack of fulfilment of basic social and economic rights for the bulk of people.