Africa has, without a doubt, come a long way since 2000, making substantial progress toward several of the MDGs. Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Malawi and Rwanda are making especially impressive progress. While not all the interventions that have worked in these countries can be applied everywhere, best practices and successful policy interventions can indeed inform interventions elsewhere. It is thus imperative that countries continue learning from each other so that they can emulate successes and avoid failures. In short, countries with sustained, equitable growth, political stability and human development–oriented policies are doing well in most of the goals.
Beyond the MDGs
With less than 1,000 days until 2015, the discourse is shifting from an exclusive focus on achieving the MDGs to reflections and debate on the defining elements of the successor framework—the post-2015 development agenda (ECA et al., forthcoming). Africa’s performance on the MDGs provides useful pointers for the agenda. Indeed, Africa regional consultations led by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Union Commission, African Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme confirm that health, education, water and sanitation and the environment remain high priorities for African countries. In addition, stakeholders would like to see inclusive growth that creates employment and livelihood opportunities, especially for the continent’s young. Stakeholders have identified structural economic transformation, human development, financing and partnerships, and technology and innovation as the priority areas for responding to these challenges in the post-2015 development agenda.
As countries everywhere assess their priorities for the post-2015 agenda, they should look at how the MDGs have brought about positive developments— and at where they have fallen short. Countries must reflect on their successes and shortcomings of the past 15 years, both to prepare for a new development agenda and to speed progress towards the MDGs. With less than three years to go, and with more eyes on the post-2015 agenda, Africa must not lose focus on attaining the MDGs.