This year’s Global Monitoring Report 2011 entitled “Improving the Odds of Achieving the MDGs - Heterogeneity, Gaps and Challenges”, reviewed the evolution of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) towards their achievement deadline set for 2015 by World Leaders in 2000. The Global Monitoring Report is a product of a strategic collaboration of multilateral development finance institutions led by the World Bank and which includes the AfDB. This year’s Report analyzed the diverse efforts and achievements in improving human development across developing countries in general and Africa in particular.
AfDB contributions which related to the African continent were highlighted in the Report as in previous years. These were illustrated through the Bank’s lending program, its technical assistance, and how its knowledge products have evolved in recent years to meet different country circumstances. In pursuing MDGs, the Bank Group followed its 2008-2012 Medium Term Strategy (MTS) selectivity programmes, servicing those countries most in need, including fragile states, low-income countries, and vulnerable groups. The Report also indicated how the level of concessionary aid resources was maintained at the AfDB as a reflection of its commitment to the achievement of MDGs by 2015. The Report amply demonstrated African Development Fund replenishment under the ADF XII which resulted in a 10.6 percent increase with a funding package of approximately USD 9.5 billion to support the Fund’s operations in low-income countries between 2011 and 2013.
Despite the perceived sluggishness of MDGs since its inception and the increase in the absolute number of poor in Africa from 296 million in 1990 to over 388 million now, the MDGs Report, further summarized the results of impact evaluations of health and education programs and reviewed recent developments in global growth, trade, and donor policies. Below are some of the highlights of the Report:
- Global progress toward the various targets continues to be mixed, and country performance is predictably diverse. Among developing countries that are off track, the top half are, on average, within 10 percent of the on-track trajectory. While countries close to the target may still miss the 2015 deadline, they could achieve the targets soon after, with improved policies and an acceleration of growth to pre-crisis levels.
- For countries that are on track, or close to it, solid economic growth and good policies and institutions have been the key factors. Progress on both fronts has been evident since the 1990s. Indeed, policy responses in the recent global economic downturn have softened the negative impact, particularly for low-income countries (especially in Africa).
- This substantial progress is not a reason for complacency. Without a stable expansion of the global economy, continuing access to advanced and developing-country markets, and adequate assistance from donors, progress could still break down. Enhancing the resilience to adverse economic shocks, including the provision of social safety programs, will need greater attention and support.
- Reaching the MDGs is only one milestone, for there still is much work to do in fostering inclusive growth, reducing inequality and poverty, and improving health and education outcomes in even the most successful countries. Even the middle-income countries on track to reach the MDGs have trailing pockets of indigenous and socially excluded groups whose odds of reaching the goals are slim.
- Unsurprisingly, countries with slower growth and poorer institutions are farthest behind. Many countries far from the target are fragile states, reinforcing the need for the international community including the African Development Bank to step up support to these countries.