The World Bank has issued a new report calling for “bold and urgent action” to achieve the millennium development goals of 2000. The Global Monitoring Report says sub-Saharan Africa has fallen far short in reaching those goals.
World Bank President James Wolfensohn says, “Rich countries must now deliver on the promises they made in terms of aid, trade, and debt relief.” He says, “The credibility of the entire development community is at stake as never before.”
Zia Qureshi, lead author of the Global Monitoring Report, tells English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua why it calls for bold and urgent action. “The reason for that is simple. If we do not have bold and urgent action most regions, most countries will miss most of the Millennium Development Goals. That’s the report’s assessment, which is consistent with the assessment of the other analyses that have been done this year. This is not just some accounting exercise. If you do not meet the MDGs it has real consequences for people. For instance, the report says that every week 200,000 children under five die of preventable disease in developing countries. Which means in other words that there is a disaster on the scale of the recent Asian tsunami that repeats itself every week. So that’s why the report calls for bold and urgent action.”
The World Bank report outlines a five point agenda: “Ensure that development efforts are country-owned; improve the environment; scale up delivery of basic human services; dismantle barriers to trade and double development aid in the next five years.”
The report also says that if sub-Saharan Africa is to achieve the goal of cutting poverty in half by the year 2015, it will have to “substantially raise annual GDP growth rates to approximately 7 percent over the next decade, roughly double the region’s current growth rate.” Mr. Qureshi calls that a “challenge,” but believes it is possible.
The World Bank report will be a main topic of discussion at the World bank/IMF spring meeting, and the G8 summit in Scotland later this year.