Africa’s Recent MDG Performance

Africa’s slow progress on social indicators can be linked to policymakers’ inability to solve the continent’s food insecurity problem, the theme of this report. Africa’s food insecurity predates the MDGs. Since the  mid-1980s, the number of food emergencies in African countries has tripled, and emerging challenges like climate change and underdeveloped agriculture have only made the problem worse. How does this  phenomenon affect other MDGs, particularly those for health? And how would a concerted effort to improve agriculture, food distribution and nutrition fast-track progress towards other MDGs?

The table below summarizes Africa’s MDG performance and identifies the best performing countries by indicator. The best performers are not necessarily those that have reached the target but those that have made the greatest improvements from their initial conditions.

Measured by effort, three African countries—Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Namibia—lead the way in  accelerating progress for 16 of the 22 indicators accessed.

Many countries in Southern, East, Central and West Africa have substantially improved their rate of progress and figure among the top 20 countries, and in most indicators progress has sped up. In North Africa, Egypt led the way, accelerating or maintaining its rate of progress in 11 indicators, followed by Morocco with 9 and Tunisia with 8. In the rest of Africa, by contrast, 40 of 50 countries have accelerated or maintained the rate of progress in at least 11 indicators between the pre- and post-2000 periods. The analysis confirms the  commitment and commendable effort that African countries are making towards the MDGs and the need to  revisit the metric of progress in this context.

Goals and Targets

(from the Millennium Declaration)


 Best performing countries, selected targets and indicators

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and

Off track

- Target 1A: Egypt, Gabon, Guinea, Morocco, Tunisia

- Target 1B: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Togo, Zimbabwe

- Target 1C: Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali,
South Africa, Tunisia

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

On track

- Indicator 2.1: Algeria, Egypt, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe

- Indicator 2.2: Ghana, Morocco, Tanzania, Zambia

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

On track

- Indicator 3.1: The Gambia, Ghana, Mauritius, Rwanda, São Tomé
and Príncipe

- Indicator 3.2: Botswana, Ethiopia, South Africa

- Indicator 3.3: Angola, Mozambique, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality 

Off track

- Indicators 4.1 and 4.2: Egypt, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Rwanda,
Seychelles, Tunisia

Goal 5: Improve maternal health 

Off track

- Target 5A: Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Eritrea, Libya, Mauritius,
Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tunisia

- Target 5B: Egypt, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Rwanda, South Africa,

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

On track

- Target 6A: Côte d’Ivoire, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe

- Target 6B: Botswana, Comoros, Namibia, Rwanda

- Target 6C: Algeria, Cape Verde, Egypt, Libya Mauritius, São Tomé
and Príncipe, Sudan, Tunisia

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sus-tainability


- Target 7A: Egypt, Gabon, Morocco, Nigeria

- Target 7C: Algeria, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Egypt,
Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland

Goal 8: Global partnership for development
Off-track - Target 8F: Kenya, Libya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia