Oxfam’s Pan Africa Director Irungu Houghton is in New York at the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Summit. Listen to him give his assessment on Africa’s performance:
Carry on reading for Irungu’s full statement:
Over the last decade, most African governments have stepped up their commitment to fighting poverty and corruption, and fuelling growth that lives the poorest from poverty.
Leaders must be willing to stand personally accountable to their citizens on health, agriculture and education, just as rich countries must ensure that progress in the poorest nations is not sacrificed through a failure to meet aid targets and reform trade rules.
While there has been progress on reducing poverty, expanding the right to education and gender equality, Africa has to improve its efforts for the continent’s leaders to meet the MDGs in their lifetime. At the current pace, Africa will halve poverty only by 2141 – that’s 131 years from now.
Health MDGs are among the most off-track in Africa. Half of all maternal deaths take place in just six countries. and three of these – Nigeria, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo – are in Africa. It’s shocking that today women in Africa face a 1 in 24 chance of dying in childbirth.
Greater action is needed also in agriculture and health more broadly. Less than ten countries have met the African Union standards of allocating 25 percent of their budgets to health and agriculture. If the progress our leaders point to today has been achieved by marginally increasing their investment, imagine what Africa could look like in 2015 if they meet their own AU standards.
African governments must take responsibility for achieving these targets and show greater transparency in their spending in these sectors to their citizens.
African civil society organisations will continue to hold their governments to account on their commitments.