Many critics and the World Bank saw it coming. And last week, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s new report finally put the last nail in Africa’s coffin of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), saying that the dark continent was still too poor and not good enough to make it to the finish line of 2015 hot race.
While Africa is the world’s second fastest growing region, its rate of poverty reduction is insufficient to reach the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015, The MDG Report 2013: Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals concludes, thus sealing the fate of a ‘miserable’ continent that is still struggling to feed and educate its people, and quench their thirst and provide them with adequate medical care 50 years after its highly-publicised independence.
The progress report, prepared by the African Union Commission (AUC), UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), was launched on the final day of the African Union Summit.
Perhaps the only positive aspect of this report is that globally in 2012, 15 of the 20 countries which made the greatest progress on the MDGs were from Africa.
Countries such as Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Malawi and Rwanda are making ‘impressive progress’ on a number of goals and targets, the UNDP said.
Despite this however, the continent was still lagging far behind in many aspects and goals, and this ‘impressive progress’ might prove too little too late to push it to the finish line.
Everywhere and every day in Africa, there is a talk of an economic boom, GDP growth and higher returns on investments. However, the report says that the primary challenge for Africa remains how it can convert that impressive economic performance into greater gains on the Millennium Development Goals.
An analysis of food insecurity – the report’s theme – provides insights into how this phenomenon impacts other MDGs, particularly health-related goals, and how concerted efforts to improve agriculture, food distribution and nutrition would fast-track progress towards other MDGs.
The report also reveals that climate-related shocks manifested by extreme weather conditions have destroyed livelihoods and exacerbated Africa’s food insecurity, resulting in a high incidence of underweight children, widespread hunger and poor dietary consumption patterns.
Log in the UNDP website, www.undp.org, to download the report.