Goal 1 – Reducing extreme poverty and hunger by half

Target 1 – Reduce by half, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the population whose income is less than 1 USD a day

Significant progress has been registered in terms of reducing poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, which went from 58 per cent in 1999 to 50 per cent in 2005. Of the 48 countries for which data is available, alongside the countries of North Africa, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Mauritania, Senegal, Kenya and Ghana registered the best performances and have every chance of attaining the goal. Likewise, Benin, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Swaziland and Uganda are on target, although these countries exhibit poverty rates that are higher than average.

However, more than half of African countries exhibit either deteriorating poverty or insufficient progress to reverse the indicator’s historic trend. This applies mainly to the countries of Western Africa (10 countries) and Southern Africa (9 countries). If trends continue, none of these countries will manage to obtain the goal. Even more alarming, some of these countries have poverty rates that are substantially higher than the average and they risk being completely marginalised. Despite good economic performances and an improved political climate, growth was not sufficient to speed up poverty reduction. Strong initial inequalities combined with demographic growth have prevented growth from adequately reaching the poorest sections of the population.

Furthermore, the ability of African countries to reach this goal is currently compromised by upheavals in the world economy with rising food prices and financial turbulence liable to destroy former progress. In light of these developments and with a high proportion of the poor in rural areas combined with low agricultural productivity, emergency measures to promote a sustainable improvement in agricultural productivity have become imperative.

Target 2 – Reduce by half, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of the population who suffers from hunger

In terms of combating hunger, the results are mixed. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of the population that is under-nourished fell from 32 per cent in 1990 to 28 per cent in 2005 but efforts have been slow and insufficient to guarantee that the goal will be attained by 2015. In Sub-Saharan Africa, one third of the population concentrated in Central and Eastern Africa suffers from hunger. Angola, Chad, Djibouti, Ghana and Mozambique posted significant improvements. The incidence of hunger increased however in Republic of Congo, Burundi, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau and Comoros as well to a lesser extent in Botswana, Swaziland, Tanzania, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Madagascar. Lastly, in the countries of North Africa as well as in Mali, Mauritius, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe progress has been modest.

Food security is facing new threats due to rising food and petrol prices, and an increasing population while a large part of the population resides in rural zones and agricultural productivity remains poor.