2013 African MDG Report Highlights African Efforts to Achieve MDGs

AfDBMay 2013: The African Development Bank (AfDB) released the 2013 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Report, titled 'Assessing Progress in Africa toward the MDGs.' The report confirms the positive impact of poverty reduction and steady economic growth on MDG progress, recognizes progress towards goals and targets and highlights remaining challenges. The report includes a themed focus on food security.

Africa is on track to achieve goals related to: universal primary education; gender equality and women's empowerment; and lower prevalence of HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and other diseases. Africa is off track on: eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; ensuring environmental sustainability; and global partnership for development. On environmental sustainability, Africa's progress has been mixed, with progress on limiting carbon dioxide emissions and ozone depleting substances (ODS) alongside challenges in addressing deforestation and improving access to water and sanitation, particularly in rural areas.

The report emphasizes efforts towards the MDGs, underscoring Africa's initial low development levels and cautioning against a single focus on achievement. It analyzes the greatest improvement by countries; when measured by effort, Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Namibia show the most progress for 16 of 22 indicators. Overall, 40 out of 50 countries accelerated or maintained progress on at least 11 indicators. Countries with equitable growth, human-development oriented policies and political stability are making progress towards most goals.

According to the report, Africa's food insecurity stems from slow progress on social indicators and food insecurity impacts MDG achievement. Climate variability, natural disasters, political instability, poor infrastructure and increasing population and refugees also contribute to food insecurity. The report recommends, inter alia: adopting an intersectoral approach; committing to agriculture development; promoting social protection and building resilience; investing in climate adaptation; and developing early warning systems to identify and respond to food crises. It suggests simultaneously addressing food security and health indicators to accelerate MDG progress.

The report also places MDG achievement within the context of the post-2015 agenda. It cautions that failing to address inequality is “a recipe for social unrest” and will result in only limited poverty reduction. It recommends policymakers continue to strive for MDG targets while also considering equality, quality and sustainability to ensure inclusive, transformative progress that is sustained beyond 2015. It identifies education, environment, health and water and sanitation as high priorities for Africa. [Publication: Assessing Progress in Africa toward the MDGs] [AfDB Press Release]