Despite Economic Growth, Africa Struggles To Meet All MDGs

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By Kelly Burke for Intellectual Property Watch

Despite increased economic growth over the past decade, Africa will not reach some of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets set forth in 2000 by the United Nations, including halving poverty by 2015, according to a UN report released yesterday.

The report [pdf], titled “The MDG Report 2013: Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals”, was prepared by the African Union Commission (AUC), UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

In addition to poverty reduction, Africa is also “off track” on the goals of reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and ensuring environmental stability, the report said.

Nevertheless, the continent demonstrated significant strides in four areas: achieving universal primary education; combatting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other diseases; establishing a global partnership for development; and promoting gender equality. However, continued inequality is undermining efforts to reduce poverty in which “a 1 per cent increase in inequality increases poverty 2.16 per cent,” the report said.

Recommendations from the report encourage Africa to promote industrialisation and intraregional trade and improve the quality of education and health care. With less than 1,000 days until 2015, the focus is shifting toward developing the post-2015 development agenda.

Even after the MDGs have passed, the report said, “Africa must commit to inclusive, transformative development that reduces income poverty, creates decent jobs, enhances the quality of and access to social services, reduces inequality and promotes resilience to climate-related hazards.”

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