Africa’s aim of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 as set by the United Nations is likely to be affected, a new report by four international institutions says.
According to the report titled “Assessing Progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals,” crises in food, fuel and finance crises as well as threats from climate change and recent uprisings in North Africa, are likely to affect Africa’s quest in achieving MDGs in spite of progress being made by various countries.
“In spite of this progress, recent food, fuel and financial crises, coupled with threats from climate change and the recent instability in North Africa, are likely to affect the region’s MDG achievement, ” said the report released last week by the African Development Bank, African Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Programme.
“In spite of the promising economic growth projection for the continent, the aftermath of the global financial crisis is likely to have a significant impact on progress toward MDG 1, both up to 2015 and beyond,” it said.
Before the crisis, the report says the region was projected to reach a poverty rate of 35,9% by 2015, but this has now been revised to 38% and the “implication is that an additional 20 million people will be left in poverty by 2015”.
However, if the low-growth scenario comes to pass, this number would more than double to 55 million over the same period.”
Indeed, revised estimates from the World Bank suggest the crisis left an additional 50 million people in extreme poverty in 2009 and a further 14 million in 2010 and those hardest hit were principally living in Africa (excluding North Africa) and in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia, it adds. The report therefore urged African countries to enhance the strength and resilience of the poor through targeted social safeguards.
National schemes, such as pensions, safety nets and school feeding programmes, can impact positively on several MDGs by addressing the immediate needs of the most vulnerable, providing them with labour, market skills and safeguards against relapses into poverty, it said.
The MDGs and targets come from the Millennium Declaration, signed by 189 countries, including 147 heads of State and Government, in September 2000. The eight MDGs are: Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education; Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women; Goal 4: Reduce child mortality; Goal 5: Improve maternal health; Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability; Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development