Success and Failure: Sub-Saharan Africa’s Progress on MDGs

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MIDLOTHIAN, Virginia — A larger number of people living in sub-Saharan Africa are living in extreme poverty compared to the number of people in the region living in extreme poverty in 1990, according to a United Nations report. The report added that the region is likely to fail to complete its development goals set by the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

The MDGs were set in 2000 with the goal of reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty and hunger by half by the year 2015, along with promoting and tracking the progress of dealing with issues like AIDS, maternal and childhood mortality, access to clean water, gender equality and education.

Several of the targets, according to the United Nations’ annual MDG progress report, are within reach by the end of next year. Should progress continue at its current rate, the goals for dealing with malaria, tuberculosis and providing access to HIV treatment will exceed any and all expectations. It also shows that the target goal of the number of people living in hunger will also be met as well.

However, there seems to be a rocky patch in the smooth sailing of development. Other MDG targets like reducing child mortality and increasing accessible sanitation are becoming more and more difficult to achieve by 2015. Sub-Saharan Africa is not projected to reach the estimated goals by the end of 2015, due to its growth in population and conflicts and decrease in international aid.

The main goal, reducing the number of people who live on less than $1.25 per day, is one of those that has yet to be met, as the number of citizens living in extreme poverty seems to have increased from 290 million in 1990 to 414 million in 2010.

“We know that achievements have been uneven between goals, among and within regions and countries and among population groups,” said the UN’s Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon.

The UN’s report also noted that while the percentage of undernourished children under 5 years old decreased to 25 percent of the world’s population from the 40 percent it was in 1990, the number has increased in sub-Saharan Africa. In 1990, the number of children under five who were undernourished was around 44 million. In 2010, that number was around 58 million.

However, there has been some improvement noted by the UN in the area of education. Between the years 2000 and 2012, the sub-Saharan African region has increased the enrollment rage for young children from 60 percent to 78 percent. Yet there is still a way to go as armed confrontations in the region and other disasters have kept around 33 million young children away from their schools.

The World Bank has announced, though, that it will increase funding for development projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The increased funding will be through loans, grants and advice.

“We applaud the improved policies and prudent fiscal decisions many governments have made,” said Makhtar Diop, the Vice President for the Africa Region of the World Bank, “and we will continue to provide financing through loans, grants and technical expertise.”

Around $15.3 billion has gone toward the development of sub-Saharan Africa’s development in 2014.

Monica Newell

Sources: Global Post 1, Global Post 2, Public Finance International, ABS-CBS News
Photo: Village Enterprise

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Monica Newell

Monica is a BORGEN Magazine writer based in Midlothian, Virginia.

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