Originally published on Premium Times on 2nd July 2013
The United Nations has revealed that about two out of five students who started primary school in 2010 in Sub-Saharan Africa will not make it to the last grade. The global body also urged countries in the region to concentrate more efforts on Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Somalia if the region hopes to meet the Millennium Development Goal, MDG, target by 2015.
This was disclosed in the Millennium Development Goals Report 2013, launched on Monday by United Nations, UN, Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon in Geneva.
The Millennium Development Goals Report is an annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the global target; and it reflects the most comprehensive, up-to-date data compiled by over 27 UN and international agencies which is produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
According to the latest scorecard, sub-Saharan Africa is currently facing rising demands for education due to her growing population.
“Thirty-two million more children were of primary school age in 2011 than in 2000. Sub-Saharan Africa is also home to more than half the world’s out-of-school children of primary school age (32 million out of 57 million) and it has the highest rate worldwide of children leaving school early.
“Slightly more than two out of five students who started primary school in 2010 will not make it to the last grade” it stated.
About a third of the 32 million out of school children (10.5 million) are Nigerians, a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, had shown.
The UN in her report however noted that though considerable efforts are being made by other countries in the region at reducing under-five deaths, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Somalia still have the highest number of under-five deaths- more than 180 per 1,000 live births.
The global body thus warned that the region must give more attention to these three countries if she (Sub-Saharan Africa) wants to achieve her MDG targets.
“The pace of change must accelerate even further if the MDG target is to be met” the report stated.
It continued: “And efforts must concentrate on countries with the highest number of under-five deaths, such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Somalia, with rates of 180 or more per 1,000 live births”.
The global organisation further advised that every country in this region must continue the fight against eradicating some of the greatest challenges bedevilling Sub-Sahara Africa.
According to the report, these include “bolstering development efforts to further reduce the poverty rate, which fell only 8 percentage points over the last two decades, and addressing the needs of 414 million people still living on less than $1.25 a day”.
“Accelerated efforts are also needed to continue gains in combating HIV and to build on the momentum in fighting malaria through the use of insecticide-treated nets.
“The region had the world’s highest child mortality rate and the second highest prevalence of underweight children among all regions in 2011. That year, one in nine children died before age five, more than 16 times the average for developed regions, accounting for 3.4 million of the 6.9 million under-five deaths worldwide” it added.
Another major challenge in the region, which the UN advised all concerned countries to tackle, is sanitation and slum dwelling.
In her report, the UN said this could be achieved by improving access to sanitation and the lives of slum dwellers.
“Between 1990 and 2011, the proportion of the population using an improved sanitation facility increased marginally from 26 per cent to 30 per cent, and the high proportion of slum dwellers dropped slightly—from 65 per cent in 2000 to 62 per cent in 2012″ part of the scorecard stated.
The UN however predicted that there would be greater drift of assistance in the form of aid shifting from the region to middle-income countries, while this would be in the form of loans.
According to the scorecard, bilateral net official development assistance to sub-Saharan Africa amounted to $26.2 billion in 2012, an 8 per cent drop from 2011.
“The current shift in aid away from the poorest countries and Africa, and towards middle-income countries, will continue, with a greater share of aid being offered in the form of soft loans rather than grants,” the report stated.