While the Millennium Development Goals program has made some major gains in its targets in many African countries, that progress could be reversed if concrete steps are not taken to eradicate poverty, argues Waiswa Nkwanga.
Earlier this year Bill Gates made a very strong case for development aid. He argued that because of development aid “the world is better than it has ever been.” A few months later, in July 2014 to be precise, the United Nations released the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) report, which seemingly affirmed Gates’ assertion that aid has indeed made the world a better place. The report shows that Africa has made big gains in areas such as providing access to primary education, reducing infant and child mortality, fighting malaria, HIV/Aids and tuberculosis, as well as increasing access to potable drinking water.
This is all good news. But when one looks deeper into the report a completely different picture emerges. While there have been major gains, the MDGs have not been as successful as its advocates would have you believe. In fact, since the introduction of the MDGs more than a decade ago, some of the targeted areas have done even worse.
The MDGs are eight goals that, among other things, seek to combat poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation, and discrimination against women. It also seeks to foster sustainable development in poor countries. All these are set to be accomplished by 2015. While each of the eight MDGs is important in its own right, none is more crucial than poverty eradication. In general, the poor in every society tend to have shorter lifespans than do rich people for obvious reasons. Many can barely afford two meals a day. They have no access to good healthcare and often rely on under-qualified practitioners for medical care. Needless to say, poverty is a vicious cycle that begets more poverty. Important as poverty eradication is, what does the UN MDG report have to say about poverty in Africa? Continue reading