News / Africa

Africa Makes Substantial Progress on MDGs, but Much Still to be Done.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

Five years before the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a new report card shows sub-Saharan Africa making substantial progress.  But not all countries there are advancing at the same rate.

The Overseas Development Institute, a British think tank, issued its findings prior to next week’s U.N. summit on the MDGs.

“The main message that comes out … is that African countries are making substantial progress on the MDGs.  Some of that progress is not recognized at the moment because progress is often measured relative to countries’ initial conditions or starting point,” says Dr. Liesbet Steer, who led the report card research.

She says many African countries started from a “very low base.”

“If we look at absolute reduction – and forget for a moment about where they started from – huge progress is being made.  There is better news behind maybe the relative measures that are used in a traditional way,” she says.

Many sub-Saharan African countries faced greater obstacles than other nations when they began their efforts to achieve the MDGs.  Comparing it to a race, for example, one runner may start much closer to the finish line than another.  Both eventually cross the finish line, but one has a lot more ground to cover to get there.

Poverty and hunger

Halving poverty and hunger is the first Millennium Development Goal.

“On a global scale the view is that we will reach the MDG on poverty reduction by 2015, despite the setbacks we’ve had with the (food) crisis.  Again, if we look at Africa, there is variation, but there is some really good news.  When we look at absolute progress measures we find that six out of the top ten performers globally come from Africa,” she says.

She adds that “some countries are doing great.  Some are not doing so well.  And if you look at the hunger target, for example, Ghana…reduced its hunger (rate) significantly from 35 percent to 9 percent.  But at the same time, in the DRC there was a huge increase, more than doubling from 29 percent to over 70 percent.”

The eastern DRC has been plagued by years of war and sexual violence.  A similar increase in hunger can be found for conflict-ridden Somalia.

Maternal Health, AIDS

The MDG of improving maternal and child health has been receiving much attention over the past year.

“Obviously, this is the goal where the least progress has been made globally.  If we look at the numbers, what we do recognize is that there’s huge variation in that goal,” she says.

HIV/AIDS is another area that’s received much attention and money since the MDGs were established.

“This is obviously also a difficult one because Africa definitely is in one of the worst positions,” she says.  “If we look at the coverage of treatment and so on, there is some good news around Africa, but there’s a lot more that needs to be done on that one as well.”

Africa is home to most of those living with HIV/AIDS and most of those who’ve died.

Different perspective on statistics

What stood out for us is that it’s important to recognize that there are different ways of measuring progress.  This doesn’t mean that traditional measures are wrong.  But it’s important to look at things in alternative ways,” she says.

She says an “Afro pessimism” developed after the goals were launched in 2000.  That’s because the MDGs, which are global goals, were also instituted on the country level in Africa.  Steer says that was not the initial intention.

“Applying those in Africa has led some people to thinking things are just not working.  What we found looking at things slightly differently is…there’s actually some positive news out there, there is progress, and it’s good to recognize that,” she says

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid