Developed nations to blame

Voluntary Service Overseas’ (VSO) Policy Advisor for Africa Charles Mwangi Waituru has attributed the poor score in the implementation of Millennium Development Goals in Africa to inadequate funding for development by developed nations. According to Mwangi Waituru, developed nations did not live up fully to the expectations of MDG #8 under which they committed to provide sufficient development assistance in their quest to facilitate poor nations meeting MDG targets by the end of 2015.

“Develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system” was a key target under the MDGs’ number 8 which Waituru says was not satisfactorily met by these countries.

Trade barriers a major development challenge

“They did not open up markets for us to market with them; it is not only about them giving us money, it is about addressing trade imbalance. If you look at Kenya for example; we import much more than we export.

This leaves us poor. It means what you are buying is more than what you are selling. Technically then you have a negative income.”

As the world chats the way forward on sustainable development beyond 2015 and on proper implementation of Agenda 2030 which has a new set of global developmental goals to be realized by 2030, developed nations still have an opportunity to address the trade imbalance challenge.

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“It became very challenging for us within our means to meet the expectations of the MDG's. That can be addressed if we fixed some of the barriers they have put in our way. They make it very difficult for us to sell in their countries, yet they make it very easy for their people to sell in our countries.”

Child mortality 5 times higher in Africa

Meanwhile Mwangi Waituru (who was speaking during a radio talk show at a local FM radio station in Nairobi on Feb.

16th) warned Africa against a worrying notion that “it is normal for children under the age of 5 and mothers to die at child birth.”

“It is not a question of natural death,” he pointed out as he expressed concern that children below five years are 5 times likely to die in Africa than in Europe. He observed it was disturbing to witness an increasing number of children dying in hospitals due to preventable causes such as the lack of basic equipment for responding to the critical medical needs of infants.

Progress on goals 2 & 6

At the same time the VSO Policy Advisor for Africa noted that Africa has registered a remarkable score on MDG 2 on universal primary education and goal number 6 which sought to combat HIV/Aids, Malaria, and other diseases. Distribution of mosquito nets and availability of antiretroviral drugs across Africa has significantly contributed to the fight against HIV/Aids and Malaria in the continent but there is a concern that this progress is falling back due to complacency and lack of resources.

Waituru further observes that achievements on these developmental goals are uneven with some areas visibly suffering marginalization and that these areas going forward require more resources to ensure that no one is left behind in the implementation of the 2030 UN development agenda.

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