South Africa has made progress on Millennium Development Goals – Zuma

South Africa on track to achieve Millennium Development Goals.

President Jacob Zuma said South Africa has managed to reduce by half the number of people earning less than a dollar a day, while the share of those experiencing hunger has also been halved. (Image: United Nations)

Brand South Africa Reporter

South Africa has made significant progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals agreed to by the world’s countries 14 years ago, and welcomes the post-2015 Global Development Agenda that will build on the MDGs after 2015.

Addressing the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, 24 September, in New York, in the United States, Zuma said South Africa has managed to reduce by half the number of people earning less than a dollar a day, while the share of those experiencing hunger has also been halved. The country has attained Goal 2 of providing access to primary education access for all, he said.

Millennium Development Goals

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that the world countries agreed upon until target year 2015 are:

  • halving extreme poverty rates;
  • providing universal primary education;
  • promoting gender equality and empower women;
  • reducing child mortality;
  • Improve maternal health;
  • combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
  • ensuring environmental sustainability; and
  • developing a global partnership for development

Zuma said on official international indicators, South Africa is doing well on MDG 3, to promote and empower women.

“South Africa has recorded impressive progress through the expansion of health infrastructure and improved access to health services for all South Africans. On the reduction of child mortality, MDG4, and the improvement of maternal health, MDG5, significant progress has been recorded, but more work remains,’ he said.

However, more work needs to be done worldwide to fully achieve the eight goals, especially in developing countries. The solution is to confront head on the underlying root causes that continue to create stumbling blocks for universal progress and development, according to Zuma.

Immediately after the world agreed on the MDGs, Africa set about to adopt the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the African Union’s Vision 2063 and other socio-economic development programmes which became the cornerstone and foundation of Africa’s Development Agenda going forward.

In spite of these efforts and the progress that South Africa and the rest of Africa have made so far, reports continue to show that Africa is lagging behind in terms of the attainment of some of the MDGs.

Post-2015 Global Development Agenda

Zuma said it is for reason that Africa welcomes the crafting of a post-2015 Global Development Agenda that will carry forward the unfinished business of the MDGs. “The post-2015 Global Development Agenda will provide a frame of reference for our collective agreement on what has to be done.

We reiterate that developed countries should be reliable partners and meet their commitment to development goals, such as contributing 0.7% of their gross national income towards Official Development Assistance,’ he said.

Concerted efforts should be made to ensure relatively poor continents like Africa deal with the scourge of poverty, underdevelopment and diseases. Zuma said the recent outbreak of Ebola in some West African countries is a good example of some of the challenges the continent continues to endure.

Zuma said the outbreak of Ebola is threatening the economies of affected countries, and has exposed the challenges of capacity, lack of infrastructure and other limited resources in Africa. “We believe that Ebola would have been contained within a few days had it been an outbreak in the developed world,’ he said, adding that South Africa stands ready to provide any assistance required to the people of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

“We add our voice in calling for more resources to be deployed to ensure that the virus is contained,’ he said.

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