Millennium Goals unlikely for Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is struggling to redress the extreme poverty plaguing the region, leaving little hope of reaching the millennium development goal (MDG) of halving world poverty by 2015, the South African Press Association reports.

Southern African Development Community executive secretary Prega Ramsamy told journalists at the World Economic Forum Africa summit there had been few success stories in Africa.
While the developed countries, as a group, has made significant progress, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa had barely reduced from 47.7 percent in 1990 to 46.7 percent in 1999. "Not only was progress insufficient, most of it bypassed the poor. Therefore, on the basis of the 1999/2000 trend it will be very difficult for
Africa to achieve the millennium goals," he said.

Hilde Frafjord Johnson, Norway's minister for international development, said corruption and mismanagement, HIV/Aids and conflicts were the "three cancers" undermining the millennium goals. She also suggested that rich nations should be watched to ensure they kept their promises of aid and other assistance to the poor. "It is not only about words, so on the MDGs the UNDP and the World Bank will work on monitoring each and every country's own progress in achieving the goals. "Now we are working on the donor side, on the rich country side... they are being analyzed, being looked over and being monitored on not only aid, but trade and other policies. "We can have a peer pressure mechanism also for the rich countries, and then, I think, it is more realistic to reach these goals." The developed nations would be embarrassed for not living up to their commitment, she said.

United Nations Children's Fund director Carol Bellamy said the goals would never be achieved if countries continued with "business as usual".

According to a UN study, the millennium goal of halving child mortality by 2015 would only be met in 2040 in
Africa, if current trends were allowed to continue. To meet the target of halving the number of people without safe drinking water by 2015, progress would have to be at least quadrupled, she said.

Source: World Bank Press Review, June 13, 2003