The MDG Report 2013: Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals concludes that while Africa is the world’s second fastest growing region, its rate of poverty reduction is insufficient to reach the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015.
An analysis of food insecurity – the report’s theme – provides insights into how this phenomenon impacts other MDGs, particularly health-related goals, and how concerted efforts to improve agriculture, food distribution and nutrition would fast-track progress towards other MDGs.
The report reveals that climate-related shocks manifested by extreme weather conditions have destroyed livelihoods and exacerbated Africa’s food insecurity, resulting in a high incidence of underweight children, widespread hunger and poor dietary consumption patterns.
With fewer than 1,000 days until the 2015 target for the MDGs, the report takes stock of Africa’s overall performance on the MDGs and identifies the best performing countries by indicator, based on progress relative to each country’s initial conditions.
Globally in 2012, 15 of the 20 countries which made the greatest progress on the MDGs were from Africa. Countries such as Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Malawi and Rwanda are making impressive progress on a number of goals and targets.
The report concludes it is imperative that countries continue to learn from one another, as the countries that have sustained, equitable growth, with political stability and human development-oriented policies, are doing well in most of the goals.
It assesses four goals as “on track” and four as “off track”:
• On track: MDG 2 – Achieve universal primary education; MDG 3 – Promote gender equality and empower women; MDG 6 – Combat HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other diseases; and MDG 8 – Global partnership for development.
• Off track: MDG 1 – Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; MDG 4 – Reduce child mortality; MDG 5 – Improve maternal health; and MDG 7 – Ensure environmental sustainability. Yet, some countries recorded appreciable progress.
Importantly, the report argues that Africa must put structures in place to sustain its development well beyond the MDG timeline.
- Poverty reduction lags behind growth
- Inequality is undermining efforts to reduce poverty
- Attending primary school is becoming the norm, but the quality of education remains a challenge
- Progress toward gender parity is encouraging
- Despite good progress, Africa still has the greatest burden of child and maternal deaths
- Africa has halted the spread of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria
- Mixed progress on ensuring environmental sustainability
- Food insecurity is a recurring challenge