On June 22nd The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and the United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) announced that many of the world’s poorest countries are making significant progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Eleven of the most improved countries are amongst the weakest in Africa itself, and nearly half of the African countries that are taking part should have reduced poverty to half its former level, thereby meeting the proposed targets.
The ODI and UNMC report analyses the progress made by nations both within and without the conditions stipulated in the MDGs. Some of the indicators that have been used to assess countries include measuring the extent to which poverty and infant mortality have been reduced, as well as how maternal health has improved. Significant improvements have also been made in the diminution of extreme hunger.
Ghanaian results appear to be the most promising. It has so far been the most successful in completing MDG targets, while Ethiopia features in the ODI’s top ten most progressive.
Malawi, too, has excelled; it has slashed cases of HIV and AIDs, which has benefited the poorest, and made great improvements to infant health. It has also seen the biggest reduction in child mortality; the number of deaths in 1000 births was as high as 209 in ‘90, but was reduced to 111 in ‘07. These countries are growing fast and are leading the way to an African rebirth.
Yet despite these success stories many African nations have been slow in reducing hunger and its prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa remains a major concern. Furthermore, the only positive data regarding improvements in maternal survival rates are occurring in Morocco and Egypt.
Countries such as Somalia, DR Congo and Zimbabwe, just don’t have the time, resources and stability with which to make significant changes.