Sustainable development in Africa is not the exclusive responsibility of government. We need to do our part as well. In the last one year, we have consistently provided information on progress reports of the MDGs in Africa. Each week of the last 8 weeks was dedicated to a summary of progress made in Africa on the MDG between 2000 and 2010. The overall summary is that Africa is making steady progress on the MDGs. But it is simply not enough to meet these goals.
It is good news that Ghana has achieved the first MDG. North Africa will end hunger. Primary education enrollment has improved. Female empowerment has increased. And Africa benefits from global partnerships. However, maternal and childhood mortality indices are still high. Famine and hunger ravages East Africa. There are pockets of violence in Democratic republic of Congo, Mali and the borders of South Sudan/Sudan. These crises stall progress on the MDGs.
Why is it necessary for us to know about MDGs? Many young people are involved in community development projects across Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and the rest of Africa. It is important for these agents to be fully aware of national and international developmental agendas. They can align their programs for change accordingly.
Besides, the continent receives billions of dollars in aids and funds from debt recovery for the goals. A percentage is channeled to development through civil society partnerships and non-governmental organizations. If NGOs have adequate information on the goals, they can create specific programs that can align the MDGs.
Here are The key points of the 2010 MDG Report:
MDG1: African poverty is gradually declining. Many African countries have made progress towards meeting this target but the number of people suffering in Africa has actually increased. Based on its stable good governance and sound policies, Ghana and North Africa have already met the target of halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger thereby making a giant step into achieving the first goal of MDGs.
MDG2: Primary education enrollment has increased in all countries but the rate of primary school completion has not been matched by an equal increase in the primary school completion rate. Also, the quality of the so called primary education is put to question. In order to satisfactorily meet the target, necessary increase in a countries expenditure on primary education is required.
MDG3: African countries showed overall progress in gender equality and the empowerment of women. Gender parity in primary education is likely to be achieved by most countries. However, parity decreases in secondary education, and the gap is widest in tertiary education.
MDG4: The under five mortality rate declined by 21% from 168 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 132 death per 1,000 live births in 2008. However, the rate of progress being made is insufficient to attain this target at the continental level. This is because Africa as a whole has the highest percentage (66%) of children under-five who are not registered at birth. African countries should intensify a credible system of civil registration system in order to improve health information system.
MDG5: Recent developments shows that Africa as a region is making relatively slow progress with this target. These progress would have been much extensive, given an absence of HIV/AIDS. However, the slothful rate of progress is not sufficient to achieve the goal by the target date.
MDG6: Africa has sustained the progress made in tackling HIV/AIDS. The decrease in HIV prevalence and mortality rates reported in 2007 persists and the HIV/AIDS –related mortality rate appears to have stabilized. There has been a reduction in Malaria mortality in a number of countries in the region. Tuberculosis remains a significant health risk and major cause of death in Africa
MDG7: Many of Africa’s environmental and natural resources are being degraded as a result of Environmental sustainability. There are a number of African countries that are facing serious water stress. This is further exacerbated by climate change expressed in rainfall cycle variations and extreme weather episodes that contribute to water depletion
MDG8: Over the years, global partnership has indeed been of great benefit to countries involved. The G20committed to work with the World Bank’s Stolen Assets Recovery Program to secure the return of stolen assets to developing countries and support efforts to stem illicit outflows.
This is the progress we have made based on the 2010 MDG Report on Africa. A lot needs to be done if we must achieve the MDGs. Each person must personalize the MDG. Choose one to pursue, and make an impact. We can not leave everything in the hands of government. We need to do our part as young people.