Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 31 n° 275

Extreme Poverty in Africa

Posted by fidest press agency su domenica, 2 maggio 2010

New York. UNDP Chief Helen Clark begins a four-country tour of Africa tomorrow to highlight progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the run up to the MDGs Summit in September 2010. She will travel to Mali, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and South Africa. Helen Clark will meet with Heads of State and Ministers, as well as touch base with women leaders and members of civil society, and visit development projects. In Mali, she will also tour the historic city of Timbuktu and meet with women mango farmers. In Burkina Faso, she will tour a project which facilitates access to energy for rural women, and will visit a centre for the reintegration of sex workers.  In Tanzania, Helen Clark will travel to Zanzibar to visit the Jozani Forest, protected in 2007, and tour the National Electoral Commission in Dar es Salaam to speak with newly-registered voters. In South Africa, she will kick off a promotional pre-World Cup MDGs football match in Pretoria with young girls and boys who are part of a sport and development project. While Sub-Saharan Africa remains the developing region with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty, poverty rates have dropped rapidly since 1990, hovering around 46 percent in 2008. The financial and economic crisis has slowed that progress, however, over the past year. Sub-Saharan Africa has also succeeded in reducing by 17.4 percent, between 2001 and 2008, the number of adults and children newly infected by HIV and AIDS, and access to anti-retroviral therapy has been expanded in many countries. The region continues to show overall progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Gender parity in primary education will be achieved in most countries in Africa by 2015. The number of seats held by women in parliament has increased in at least 31 countries. Many individual countries around the region have recorded impressive gains on specific Goals. Ethiopia has tripled its net primary school enrolment ratio since 1990. In Malawi and Niger, the under-five mortality rate has fallen by at least 40 percent since 1990. In 2008, Rwanda elected a majority of women, 56 percent, to its lower chamber of parliament – the highest level of female representation of any country in the world. South Africa successfully halved the proportion of people lacking access to safe water. In 2007, about 85 per cent of the population had access to safe drinking water In spite of these successes, major challenges remain. Progress on fighting hunger has been slow, although the proportion of undernourished people fell from 32 percent of the population in 1990-92 to 29 percent in 2008. Deforestation continues to be a worry, with a loss of forest cover from 2000-2005 of 4.1 percent. Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest emitter of carbon dioxide, but it stands to be the region most affected by climate change, compounding existing environmental and energy challenges and threatening to undo progress towards the MDGs, unless there is more global action on adaptation and mitigation. There has been little  advance on reducing maternal mortality in the region, with the number of deaths out of 100,000 births dropping from 920 in 1990 to 900 in 2005. Earlier this week, Helen Clark met with G8 Development Ministers in Halifax, Canada, to discuss the September MDGs Summit and the need to re-energize the global MDGs effort with a concrete action plan to accelerate progress. She stressed the importance of key ingredients to success, including inclusive economic growth, strong national leadership, public investment, social protection, access to energy, and investing in women and girls (Read Helen Clark’s speech at the G8 ministers meeting).

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