Much debate surrounds the real progress made by Africa to date with regards to attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). If the aim of having the MDGs was to encourage development by improving socio-economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries, why then, after over a decade of the initial meeting and with just under four years left to reach the set deadline, are the poorest nations still poor, and in some cases their conditions have even deteriorated since the turn of the millenium?
The United Nations (UN) Women says decisions taken at the Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio+20 from 20-22 June 2012 will inform what happens once the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015.
UN Women executive director, Michelle Bachelet, points out that decisions taken in Rio will give direction to new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), critical among those the empowerment of women and gender equality.
According Global Monitoring Report for 2012, the developing world's progress is ‘seriously lagging’ on global targets relating to food and nutrition, with child and maternal mortality rates still unacceptably high.
The report notes that dealing with food price volatility must be a high priority, especially as nutrition has been one of the forgotten Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Released by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the report states that recent spikes in international food prices had stalled progress across several of the MDGs.
South Africa (SA) still lags behind in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals of food security and poverty eradication. The current trends of education in SA affect the agriculture sector. Agriculture information is not integrated with other development programmes to address the numerous related problems faced by small-scale and emerging farmers. Information is an essential ingredient in agricultural development programmes.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation says there is a "dark cloud" hanging over the possibility of Africa attaining its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane points out that, "Studies are predicting that, given the current trends with less than five years towards 2015, Africa is unlikely to achieve every single one of the MDGs."
Nkoana-Mashabane states that if Africa fails to achieve the MDGs, then the world would have failed, warning that the road to 2015 and beyond will not be an easy one.
Riding a taxi home the other day I was somewhat in awe of the woman driving it. She appeared to be the owner of the vehicle, in her mid-forties, dignified and commanding respect simply by the look of pride on her face.
I am also proud when I see examples like this of "sisters doing' it for themselves", to borrow from the famous Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin song.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says Zambia has made steady progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.
UNDP associate administrator, Rebecca Grynspan, whose visit to Zambia is her first to the Africa region in her current position, says the country has done well in terms of working towards meeting the MDGs by the year 2015.
The Zimbabwean Government says all United Nations country team agencies should direct financial assistance to government through the fiscus rather than the current scenario where various disbursements modalities are being used.
Chief secretary to Cabinet and President Robert Mugabe, Misheck Sibanda, points out that Zimbabwe is no longer a classic humanitarian case, hence more financial and technical assistance should now be channelled towards developmental programmes.