The Millennium Development Goals: Progress Report

Just six years from the deadline set by the international community for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), world reports indicate that with the exception of North Africa, none of the Sub-Saharan African countries is currently on track to attain all of the goals by 2015. This broad statement however, inevitably conceals the variety of the results obtained by each country, and more particularly, the striking progress made by some.

For several years now, the economic and political context in Africa has been developing favourably with good economic performances and a significant drop in the number of countries suffering from civil conflict. Several African countries have conducted strict macroeconomic policies and have launched democratic and growth acceleration reforms. However, rising world prices for food products combined with the global slowdown in economic growth and the ever-present risk of conflict and long-term climate change are undermining the conditions for growth and attaining the MDGs. The repercussions of the food crisis and climate change on the ability of African countries to eradicate poverty and attain human development goals makes it all the more imperative that MDGs be integrated into national programmes, backed up by a reinforced commitment by political actors and by financing from development aid institutions.

The table Main Progress Towards Achieving the Millenium Developement Goals is the outcome of the application of a methodology calculating a measure of progress for each goal. This indicator is obtained by comparing the current rate of growth with the rate of growth necessary to attain the goal by 2015. Four levels of progress have thus been identified: “early achiever” meaning that the goal is already attained or will be by the expected deadline; “on track” meaning that the country is on course to attain the goal; “off-track” if progress is slow, and lastly, “regressing” signalling a reversal in the trend towards the goal. Figure 8 – Distribution of Countries Status by MDGs shows the distribution of African countries according to each country’s indicator value.

The measurement of progress towards each goal enables us to take account of the work remaining to be done.