Dear Colleagues,


Our last discussion focused on Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP), i.e. national visions and plans established by your countries to help end poverty. This discussion aims to take us one step higher by looking at the Millennium Development Goals. MDGs often feed into or play a part of PRSPs, so we thought it would be interesting to explore them further. In addition, this September marked 5 year point before the MDGs are supposed to be achieved in 2015. We want to know from you, based on your experiences, what do you think about the MDGs, how do they link to your country’s PRSP, and do you think that they will be achieved or not, and if so, why?


As you know, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) emerged during the major international development summits of the 90s. The MDGs are 8 goals - to be achieved by 2015 - that aim to meet the greatest global challenges. They stem from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration, which was adopted by 189 nations and signed by 147 heads of state during the Millennium Summit in September 2000.

As a response to development challenges and demands of civil society, the MDGs aim to reduce poverty, promote education, improve maternal health, advance gender equality. They are also committed to combating child mortality, HIV / AIDS and other diseases.

The 8 MDGs are as follows:  

Ø Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Ø Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
Ø Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
Ø Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Ø Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Ø Goal 6: Combat HIV / AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Ø Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
Ø Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

These 8 MDGs hare associated with 17 quantifiable targets and 48 indicators.  
In the Millennium Declaration, Member States had agreed that the MDGs can not be achieved without effective public governance, transparent, and accountable, participatory. Success will depend largely on the effectiveness of public administration and promotion of an innovative government working in partnership with all stakeholders.

Many of you are associated or working in different institutions working to achieve the MDGs, this ediscussion should allow you to share your experience about how your country intends to achieve the MDGs, on how monitoring is carried out and on how the results are evaluated.

In addition, this online discussion will give you the opportunity to:

- Assess progress has been made in achieving each of the eight goals;
- Describe how are implemented are implemented to achieve the MDGs and comment on MDG monitoring approaches;

- Clarify roles and responsibilities of various actors (Governments, civil society, technical and financial partners, etc.).

- Identify lessons learned, best practices and what worked.

Each week, we intend to post a series of related questions.  The discussion will last about 2 ½ months with a weekly posts by the discussion leader. In addition, we will summarize the main conclusions about every two weeks.


Please let us know your thoughts on this topic. Is there anything that we should include or questions that you’ve been wanting to ask? We look forward to your thoughts and views on this!


Many thanks,





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I am interested in the e discussion which really focuses on what development is in general. I would like to present some important issues regarding to the Ethiopian government effort to achieve these goals.
Since the 1990s, reducing the pervasive poverty in Ethiopia and ensuring human development of the country has been the objective of the Ethiopian government. This vision is explicitly incorporated in various development policy documents of the government. It is easy to see the central role of MDGs in informing such policy document of the government.
Several national and sectoral policy documents were drafted and adopted by the government (eg. These included education, health and food-security strategies etc). This programs share similar targets and indicators with that of MDGs. In fact, some of the targets, particularly the ones relating to poverty, education and health were informed, by the MDGs.
The SDPRP (Ethiopia’s PRSP)’ as well as its latest version PASDEP that will end in 2009/10 uses the targets in MDGs as benchmarks and utilizes the indicators to monitor progress towards the goals. In addition to this the overarching strategy document of the government called Agricultural Development Led Industrialization (ADLI) which informed the SDPRP and PASDEP has a particular focus on agriculture and food security which is strictly connected with goal 1 of the MDGs. The integration of the MDGs in the national development policy context reached its height following the ‘MDGs Needs Assessment’ exercise conducted by the government, UNCT and other development partners in 2005, which allowed the explicit incorporation of MDGs, with their explicit cost, in important policy documents of the country such as PASDEP.
Thus, MDGs are well placed in the national development context of the country. In line with objective of poverty reduction and bringing about social development, the GoE has invested in both physical and human capital formation which could be taken as best practice to address the challenges of achieving MDGs. This can be read government’s effort in raising the level of spending in pro-poor sectors. The share of total spending on poverty-targeted sectors (both recurrent and capital from all sources) increased from about 42% of total expenditure in 2002/03 to over 64.1% by the end of 2007/08.. This steady increase in spending on most poverty-oriented as well as the on-going Federal food security program was also meant to ensure the security food for an extremely vulnerable section of the society..
In addition, a related best practice relates to the GoE’s investment in infrastructure ,there is significant progress in provision of roads, power and telecom services. With regard to Roads, by the end of 2007/08, the total length of road network has reached 4243559 km. overall, at national level road density has increased from 29km/1000 km2 in 2000/01 to 38.6km/1000km2 by the end of 2006/07. The average time taken to reach to all weather roads has also been reduced to 4.5 hours.
With regard to telecom services, the number of subscribers in regular fixed telephone lines, mobile phones and internet lines has increased and reached 890,741, 1,208,498 and 74,000, respectively by the end of 2006/07. Some of the achievements include: Population with access to telecommunication center/services (within 5 km radius) increased from 13% in 2004/05 to 49.3% by the end of 2006/07. The country’s Telecom Penetration (Tele-density for fixed lines or number of telephone subscribers per 100 inhabitants) has increased to 1.20 by the end of 2006/07 from about 0.65 in the early 2000. Similarly, there is also impressive growth in power supply. Through the Universal Electricity Access Program (UEAP), it was planned to connect 869 towns and villages located across the country and 758 of them were connected by the end of 2006/07. The total electricity coverage of the country has increased to 22%. Furthermore, some of the activities undertaken include: construction of the on-going five main hydro electric power generation stations with a total capacity of about 3,000 MW, new power transmission lines and substations are being built and strengthening of old ones is being carried out.
Irrigation is another best practice area to achieve MDGs in Ethiopia where growth is dependent on agricultural sector which in turn is dependent on vagaries of nature. 40,159 hectares of land was developed in modern irrigation and 494,393 hectares of land in traditional irrigation in 2006/07. In 2007/08 it was planned to develop a total area of 379000 hectare of land with small scale irrigation of which 319,000 (84%) was developed. This is an encouraging sign to reduce food insecurity and vulnerability in rural areas.

The economic growth in the last decade and the progress towards MDGs has been remarkable. The economy grew at an average growth rate well above the 7% growth estimate required to reduce the goal of poverty reduction by the year 2015. The government has also made an enormous progress in the provision of social services such as education, health, and infrastructure by spending a large share of its budget in the pro-poor sector. This could be taken as the best practice from which others may learn. This effort has also resulted in the excellent stride made to meet the MDGs. As a result the country is in a good track to meet goals 1 (perhaps, except extreme poverty and hunger), 2, 6 and 8. If some of the challenges noted in this document are addressed it is also highly likely that it may meet goals 4 and 7 as well. this encouraging progress it is likely that goals 3 and 5, which are related to gender issues, may be achieved in the coming five years
Although the projected path of MDGs in the coming five years is encouraging, it need not deter the government from pursuing to meet all of them with vigor given the level of poverty and social deprivation in the country. In particular, given the dependence of growth on rain-fed agriculture, which is the main stay of the economy, its vulnerability to external shocks as well as its low level of domestic resource mobilization (and hence shortage of foreign exchange), the sustainability of this growth trajectory leaves much to be desired. This is further complicated by the challenge of global climate change as well as the impact of the global economic crisis noted in this document. Moreover, since growth has been accompanied by worsening distribution of income with adverse effect on poverty reduction, there is a need to address this issue to make best use of the success in growth to meet the MDGs. Development partners may contribute to the effort of the government by scaling up their assistance both in terms of resource, its quality and creating the capacity to absorb it. It is hoped that the combined effort will help to alleviate the pervasive poverty and bring about social progress in the country in the shortest time possible.I would like to see the others experience and achievements towards these goals,and discuss more on each MDG goals progress and challenges as well as the way forward.
My country, Sierra Leone is among the world’s poorest countries. Decades of economic decline added to twelve years of armed conflict have had dramatic consequences on the economy. Poverty is widespread with more than 70% of the population living below the poverty line and the country ranks third from bottom in the Human Development Index. Nonetheless, post-conflict economic growth has been robust with real GDP growth between 6%-7% in recent years. Fiscal and external sector reforms have led to improved financial performance with lower fiscal and external current account deficits, lower domestic borrowing and relatively stable exchange rates. Politically, progress has been steady with two successful presidential, national and local elections since the end of the conflict.
Sierra Leone stands out as an example of change in the sub-Saharan region of Africa with a determined leadership at the helm, ensuring that the country’s international obligations are met in full. At the very core of the government’s development strategy, is an agenda for change that seriously addresses issues of economic, political and social importance that are necessary for the overall development of the country.
President Ernest Bai Koroma has indeed stressed the importance of addressing the (MDG) as he has positioned his government to improve child-mortality and maternal health by providing free health care for under-fives and pregnant and lactating women. The Head of State takes seriously the initiative to reduce poverty as he has embarked on an efficient revenue generating program and prudent financial regulations while addressing corruption in government which had threatened the economic development of the country.

Despite recent achievements, Sierra Leone will not meet its targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by 2015. UNDP and other UN agencies supported an MDG needs assessment which gauged the human resources, infrastructure and finances required in twelve priority areas identified by the government: agriculture, education, gender, health, HIV/AIDS, the environment, transportation, energy, water and sanitation, science, innovation and technology, private sector development and job creation, and public sector management.

The assessment underlined the importance of economic growth, recommending investment in agriculture, mining, fisheries and tourism and the need for a macro-economic framework and growth strategy. The total cost of investment required from 2007 to 2015 is nearly $19 billion. Given current donor commitments the financing gap is close to $17.6 billion. However, almost 60% of this cost is for infrastructure especially building and maintaining roads.

UNDP support to the MDG needs assessment and development of Macroeconomic Frameworks has assisted the government in the preparation of the next phase of national development plans, specifically the PRSP 2009-12, with priorities anchored around infrastructure, energy and agricultural development.

Additionally, the UN and the government have taken steps to roll out DEV INFO as a tool to improve access to data on development to monitor the MDGs. The UN Country Team has mainstreamed the MDGs in the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Sierra Leone and the UN Peace Building Commission and Fund have become key tools to mitigate risks that could arrest or reverse progress towards meeting the MDGs.

Importantly, there has been effective leadership by the Government in the MDG needs assessment process. In addition, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, in collaboration with UNDP and NGOs, undertook an MDG awareness campaign through non-formal education centres. This has allowed the general population to engage the government on a more equal footing when discussing the national development agenda.

To enable my country and all countries to achieve the MDGs, the world must treat them not as abstract ambitions but as practical policy objectives. The practical steps to achieve the Goals in each country can and should be diagnosed, planned, and implimented with the proper focus and actions, combined with suitable support from the international community. Many well governed developing countries are poised to make dramatic progress---if their development partners deliver on long-standing promises to increase assistance.
Dear Colleagues,

Thank you so much Wail, Abiyot, and Mohamed for providing an overview on your countries’ progress towards the MDGs. Your feedback provides an important basis for starting our discussion.

One thing that comes to mind when reading your posts is that perhaps, the MDGs are written in such a way and have measurements and targets that may be setting Africa up to fail? What do you think?

William Easterly has a publication on this and has written about it recently on his blog. He states “One problem with the MDGs is that success on a goal is very sensitive to how you define the goal. There are actually three different choices you have to make to define a goal in 2015 relative to the 1990 baseline. Let’s use primary enrollment as an example, and say that a random country went from 50 percent primary enrollment in 1990 to 90 percent enrollment in 2015.

(1) Do you define the goal in CHANGES or in LEVELS (e.g. the change in primary enrollment from 1990 to 2015, or the level of primary enrollment attained in 2015)?

If your answer to (1) is CHANGES, you still need to make two more decisions:

(2) Will it be PERCENT CHANGE or ABSOLUTE CHANGE (e.g. percentage change in primary enrollment (90-50)/50=80%, or the absolute change (40 percentage points)?

(3) Will you use the USUAL social indicator or its REVERSE (e.g. percent enrolled OR percent NOT enrolled)?”

Prof. Easterly continues to explain why these subtle yet important decisions on how the goals are defined can actually have a significant impact on whether Africa can achieve the MDGs. To continue reading about Prof. Easterly’s work on this – visit his blog here.

Let me know what you think about this!

Our first set of questions is on government policies and achieving the MDGs:

How is your government's strategy structured towards achieving the MDGs? What are the policies and plans implemented for this purpose? How is this linked to your PRSP?

What are the measures is your country adopting to make public administration more efficient, transparent, accountable, citizen-centered and more focused on achieving the MDGs?

Does your country have any programs specifically targeted capacity building for public administration capacity to achieve the MDGs?

How is monitoring and evaluation undertaken for the different targets? Who is responsible for M&E at the sector level? Is civil society involved in M&E? Are the MDG indicators still relevant?

Am looking forward to your thoughts on this!

Thank you, Hannah, for asking about country experiences associated with (a) how development goals are defined and (b) which measures are used to indicate progress.

I am writing in response to Prof. Easterly's concerns about which measurements are used to indicate progress toward meeting development goals. I am particularly interested in Prof. Easterly's comment on his blog, "I think the MDG design was unintentional after some conversation with the original creators of the goals, who **did not intend the MDGs to be applied at the regional or country levels**." [Emphasis added.]

In my experience, there are serious consequences when the same measurements are presumed to be suitable for indicating progress at every level of measurement and reporting (eg, local, regional, national, international). Using the same measurement to indicate progress at every level is likely to encourage inappropriate goal displacement and data gaming at some, if not all, levels: see my aside, below.

Is the following example relevant to the general theme that you raise, the importance of (re-)defining which measures are used to indicate progress towards meeting a development goal? This example came from Asia.

EXAMPLE: Some years ago I read the 2005 MDG Progress Report which was published by the Department of Planning, Ministry of Finance, Royal Government of Bhutan. For a copy, see

This 2005 report responds to the challenge of identifying relevant measures to indicate progress towards meeting Goal 1, "Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger". I understand that the extent of poverty is *not* indicated in Bhutan by reporting on income, eg, "Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than [$1 or $1.25] a day". [For use of this type of income-linked target, see “The Millennium Development Goals Report 2010” (]

Thus, the Bhutan report emphasised an alternative measure of poverty: “[T]he human poverty index or HPI-1 developed by the UNDP…provides a useful measure to assess human deprivations in the three aspects of longevity, knowledge and standard of living." (p.20)

Aside: While we consider the challenges associated with defining appropriate numerical targets to associate with the MDGs, can we ignore the wide-spread reporting of the consequences of inappropriate "goal displacement" and "data gaming"?

Goal displacement and data gaming occur when people or organisations attempt to "look good" in the eyes of donors and other funding bodies by meeting predetermined, numerical targets, regardless of the impact that this has on particular clients or target populations. Is anyone else finding that attempts to meet numerical development targets (at every level) is leading to inappropriate goal displacement and data gaming, with the consequence that reports to donors and other funding bodies do not provide decision makers with sufficiently useful "indicators" of what is really happening “on the ground”?
Thank you Hannah for the new discussion module, I do agree that Rwanda has made an important progress in implementing MDGs and these are linked with the PRSP.
The UNDP partnership with the government of Rwanda attempts to address the MDGs through each of its programme activities. In particular, UNDP Rwanda's work on the MDGs focuses on:
Campaigning and mobilisation: supporting advocacy for the MDGs and working with partners to mobilise society to build awareness of the challenges ahead and progress made.
Analysis: researching and sharing strategies and best practice in the fields of innovation, institutional reform, policy implementation, and evaluation of financing options.
Monitoring: helping countries report advancement towards the MDGs and track progress.
Operational activities: goal-driven assistance to support governments to tailor MDGs to local circumstances and challenges, and addressing barriers to progress.

Rwanda presents a unique case in development and in the progress towards achieving the MDGs. Whereas many countries were on course to implement the MDGs in the 1990s and beyond, Rwanda has been recovering from the tragic and devastating genocide and civil war of 1994.
All the MDG indicators in Rwanda were actually dramatically reversed during and as a consequence of the 1994 genocide and fell far below 1990 levels. Therefore, Rwanda's "starting line" for working towards the MDGs begins much later, and much lower, than in many other countries. For instance, the proportion of people living in extreme povery in Rwanda was 47.5% in 1990, and 77.8% in 1995. By 2000, this figure had fallen to 60%, and is continuing to decrease to this day.

Rwanda has made impressive efforts at achieving several MDGs, overcoming major setbacks during the genocide in 1994. This progress has been due to political commitment at the highest level, and international support for well designed and executed national scale programs.

Today, primary enrolment rates are 97 percent , largely due to the government's decision to make primary education free and mandatory, backed by donor support and sensitization to encourage sending children to school.

The gender equality in primary and secondary education target has already been met, together with other milestones; women's participation in parliament is now more than 50 percent (56% in 2008 ), the highest in the world. Similar high-level political leadership has led to HIV prevalence rates falling from 13 percent (2000) to 3 percent (2006).

Malaria fatalities have reduced from 9.3 percent (2001) to 2.9 percent (2006 ) through a deliberate strategy of universal distribution of insecticide treated bed nets, and modern treatment based on artemisinin combination therapy.

Compared to 61% in 2000, the access to improved water source rate (71%) is high but and MDG 7 (82%) is attainable by 2015.

The Opportunities and linkage of MDGs to PRSP:
The Government of Rwanda has made achieving the MDGs central to its policy framework, as defined in the EDPRS 2008-2012.
The Government has prioritized infrastructure and agriculture, recognizing that these sectors require greater investment.
In addition, the government has launched a major effort to scale up MDG interventions through the Vision 2020 Umurenge Program, one of the 3 flagships of the EDPRS.
Donor confidence in Rwanda is high ; official development assistance stands at approximately $67 per capita , which is higher than the average for the region, but below the $85 per capita promised under the Gleneagles commitments .

This offers an opportunity for the international system to strengthen its support to the government under the MDG Africa Steering and Working Group processes . Specific investment opportunities exist in the areas of modern inputs for increasing agricultural production; small scale water management, access to energy and roads, improved environmental sustainability, and scaling up basic health care, including family planning services.

Please for further information on Rwanda MDGs achievement , you can visit:

Thank you again for the interesting themes that are coming out from this e-learning.
Dear Colleagues,

Thank you all for the in-depth comments and feedback received to date.

Jerome – I find your comments on “goal displacement” and “data gaming” particularly interesting. Wail from Sudan has responded that he indeed, experienced this before. Wail - can you share any particular examples?

I’d be interested in exploring means or measure to aggregate data on particular topics, themes or across geographic regions, while still staying faithful to measurement and data collection systems that are suitable for each project, local level, regional, national, and international. Is there a way to do this? In my experience, the reality is that aid practitioners (both in country and with donor organizations) want to be able to compare across projects so that they can learn which interventions are the most effective and why.

Can we possibly create a system of measurement that adapts to its immediate needs and surroundings yet can still aggregate data across sectors and countries?

Mugunga and Wail – thank you both for sharing the progress of your countries toward achieving the MDGs – you both present interesting and diverging experience.

You both lead us into our next set of questions. I’d really like to hear from other members: What is the current situation in your country and what progress has been made towards the MDGs to date. In particular:

1) What progress has been made towards each goal and their respective targets?

2) What are the MDGs, that in your opinion, your country has the best chance of achieving?

3) Are there sectors that, in your opinion, are more favored/receive more attention than others?

4) What are the challenges facing your country in terms of achieving the MDGs? How has the current economic crisis affect the ability of your country to achieve the MDGs (or not)?

I really look forward to your thoughts!

Dear Colleagues,

Apologies for being a bit quiet - things have been particularly busy of late!

Wail – thank you so much for your reply. I really appreciate your reflections on growth, productivity, and measure of poverty!

I’d really like to know what other members of the AfCoP think about your post!

To clarify my question – I guess what I mean is, let’s say we are working on a maternal and child health project in a small village. How can we ensure that the data that we are collecting for this project can be rolled up into community, and then regional, and then national level data on maternal and child health?

To follow up on some the issues that you put forward, I’d like to ask the following questions:

- What are the mechanisms used to get citizens involved in defining and implementing policies to achieve the MDGs?

- Does your country have mechanisms to involve the poor, youth and women in decision-making? And if so, what are they?

- What role civil society plays does in achieving the MDGs?

- What role do donors play in working with your country to help achieve the MDGs? Are there any conditions attached to the assist that they provide?

I look forward to your thoughts on this!

We are concerned that no Member has responded to Hannah’s latest comment, despite mail from the Secretariat drawing Members attention to the discussions. Why is this the case?

Our view is that meeting MDGs’ in Africa by their 2015 target date underline urgent need for all relevant stakeholders within and outside Africa to recognize:-
1. The magnitude and complexity of huge change processes that need to be strategically managed from village to global levels
2. The need for adequate levels of capacity building – Individual – Hard Competencies: Learning and Skills and Soft Competencies: Character, Courage and Mindset; Institutions – Pro Poor Economic Growth and Pro Poor Institutional Reform and Environment – Political, Economic, Social, Cultural and Religious Space.
3. The organization, orientation and discipline of Evaluation / Program Commissioners, Managers and Service Providers to deliver Sustainable Benefits to Citizens in each African Country
4. The organization, orientation and discipline of Citizens in each African Country to be the MOVING FORCE Driving TRANSFORMATION within (1) – (3) in their Society.

The Big Question is what role can and should this COP play within (1) – (4)? And How will Dissemination and Utilization of good ideas and pertinent suggestions generated by this discussion be done? Is this another meaningless Professional Debate that contributes nothing towards improving Development Impact and Development Effectiveness and help nudge all relevant stakeholders towards delivery on Promise to achieve renewed Global Action Plan to achieve 8 Goals MDGs’ by their 2015 target date?

Savile Kushner, Professor of Public Evaluation and UKES Vice President had described our reflections on MDGs’ set out in the Blog Postings as very interesting. We have raised fundamental issues that cannot be wished away on one hand and whose implementation is in US interest, UK interest, Commonwealth interest and World interest on the other hand. To read the article “MDGs at 10: How to implement outcome 2010 UN MDGs’ Summit”, please click the link:-

Please let the discussions gather momentum.

I am always interested by the topic of discussion on this discussion room .

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are based on the International Development Goals (IDGs) which is drawn up in 1996 by development Assistance committee which is a component of Economic Cooperation and Development (OCED).The International Development Goals being the brain-child of the donor communities did not get the wholehearted acceptance from the developing countries and the civil society .so it was difficult to reach in to agreement about the goals and because of this and many other reasons the IDGs could not be effective and it shifted to MDGS but this has not bring any meaningful change, With th exception of one goal ,all goals in International Development Goals (IDGs) document have been incorporated into the 8 goals of the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs).As said in the above being the brain-child of the developed community the goals are wider and complicated and sometimes unachievable because it does not consider the reality of the developing world specifically Africa. But then again any ultimate development goal should be the well-being of the the people and as far as the MDGs concerned they are all about the human development and their achievement lies with efforts of the people and leaders of the developing world. It can give African countries an international standard to compare their domestic effort and plans ,it can provide healthy competition between countries....,But the question in mind is are these goals achievable, are they to a standard where every poor country can reach ?.

I have a chance for the last two years to closely observe the activities of Ethiopia to achieve MDGs and i am convinced that Ethiopia relatively is well suited to achieve most of the Goals..And the trend shows that in the area particularly of education ,Ethiopia would attain the MDG a head of schedule .with regard to reducing maternal and infant mortality rate and natural resource Ethiopia's accomplishment is low. And again in HIV/AIDS arrest and reverse and aid and effectiveness development Ethiopia has been found to have performed better.And this and other achievements in Ethiopia for the last 15 years and five more years to come is very vital for the general well-being of the people.

As a whole the MDG even if is a brain-child of the developed world ,it can be achieved and has many different positive causes.i say if genuine effort from all parties put together we can achieve most of the goals even if we failed to achieve all the goals we can at least have some achievements to proud at.
Dear Colleagues,


Well, i am now here not to comment on the MDGs rather to let you see the recent interesting music video entitled '8 Golas for Africa' done by the UN in South Africa.The ‘8 GOALS FOR AFRICA’ song is part of an awareness and advocacy campaign developed by the United Nations System in South Africa on the 8 MDGs.

It is really worth wathcing this interesting movie......and then we will come back to the discusion after this musical break....

To see the artisits bio go through the following link:

You can download the movie from the AfCoP's site from teh video section or you can download from the 8 Goals for Africa Campaing website:


Tamirat (MoFED, Ethiopia)
Dear Colleagues,

Thank you so much for your responses.

Tamirat – really appreciate the video that you shared! The tune is very catchy and it is a really inspiring video! I strongly suggest that other members watch it as well!

Seyfe – I really appreciate your feedback and views. It’s interesting to get more of a historical perspective on the MDGs. I keep wondering whether or not it is helpful/useful to have 8 high level, standardized goals that countries can work towards achieving – or whether it is best to keep targets tailored to the specific needs of each country?

Lanre – thank you for your response as well and for sharing Prof. Kushner’s post!

I’d like to ask a few more questions and we move forward with this discussion:

What are some of the most important lessons learn moving towards achieving the MDGs? What are some of your experiences of challenges and success? What can you recommend to your colleagues and the development community moving forward?

I look forward to hearing from and having a dynamic discussion on these questions!


Africa and the MDGs in 2010


Since the Millennium Deceleration of the 2000 the MDGs came to the forefront of many developing nations’ development endeavors. Policy changes, political measures and economic reforms have been seen in many developing nations for the achievement of the MDGs. Africa has also been doing the same though at different pace and level. Development partners put concerted efforts to help poor nations to come out of deep rooted and multi faceted poverty.  The official development assistance flow to Africa has increased substantially since 2004 but not as early anticipated and not at the rate, as many argues, to achieve the MDGs. The net ODA as a percentage of GNI (0.7% UN target) has been met only by five countries (Sweden, Norway, Luxemburg, Denmark and the Netherlands, in ranks, respectively). Africa’s development partners have not met in full their aid commitments. Further, OECD/DAC ODA to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), most of which are in Africa, continues to fall short of the 0.15–0.20 percent target commitment set in the Brussels Program of Action (BPoA) in 2001[1]. However, the proper use of ODA in African countries also raises some concerns among different commentators on aid and development.  Of course to achieve the MDGs aid is the means not the end and I would like to second those who argue that democratic governance, the rule of law, accountability and transparency– key ingredients for development. In addition, for African nations to achieve the MDGs governments and leaders are responsible for the development and well being of their nations and the citizens.


The 2010 MDG report for Africa entitled “Assessing Progress toward the MDGs in Africa” has been prepared by the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) (all these three institutions mandated by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union), and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)[2].


The 2010 Assessing Progress toward the MDGs in Africa report is based on the latest updated and harmonized data from United Nations agencies and OECD statistics databases. UNSD is the official repository of data for assessing progress toward the MDGs. Africa is often portrayed as lagging behind on the attainment of the MDGs relative to other global regions. The data used in this report confirm this overall verdict. However, this broad-brush conclusion ignores the significant achievements that individual countries are making on the goals and the scaling-up of opportunities that this provides[3].


In a brief summary, this report mainly focuses on the achievements made so far in MDGs in African countries and the following messages come out clearly and presented.


  • Prior to the onset of the food and fuel crises and the global recession, African countries were making steady progress toward attainment of the MDGs. Even though information is not yet available to delineate the precise impact of the three crises on MDG achievement, we know that many African countries were sharply affected by these shocks. However, with support from their international development partners, including the African Development Bank and UNDP, African countries have taken a series of measures aimed at stemming the adverse effects;
  • There has been progress achieved in reducing poverty rates and moving toward the targets of several of the MDGs, even though Africa still has the highest  proportion of people living in extreme poverty within the developing world;
  • The continent that has secured progress in key areas such as net primary enrolment, gender parity in primary education, political empowerment of women, access to safe drinking water, and stemming the spread of HIV/AIDS. Antiretroviral treatment is becoming available in a large number of countries and maternal mortality rates are falling in some places. On the economic front, growth has begun to pick up after the global economic and financial crises.
  • Policy innovations in the continent which contributed for the registered improvements in the targets include: new and expanded social protection programs; countries have used the MDGs as a framework for development planning, strengthening coordination and cascading the MDGs to lower tiers of government; Political support for the MDGs remains strong, even at the height of the crisis budget allocations to MDG-critical sectors did not fall in most African countries.
  • Challenges remain, especially in the area of health. Achieving the goal of “health for all,” Progress in achieving the MDGs has therefore been considerably fettered by the slow progress on meeting the health targets.
  • The adverse impacts of climate change pose a further threat to the sustainability of MDGs achievement.
  • The global partnership for the MDGs has fallen short of its promise. The Doha Round of trade negotiations remains stalled, denying African countries the opportunities that might emerge from a successful development round. In addition, various international commitments, including those made at Monterrey and Gleneagles, are yet to be fulfilled.


You can get the detailed findings in document forwarded by the UNECA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, here

[1] UNECA/AUC, 2010

[2] MDG Report 2010

[3] ibid


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