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Beyond MDGs: an African perspective Abebe Shimeles, Principal Research Economist Department, African Development Bank.

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Presentation on theme: "Beyond MDGs: an African perspective Abebe Shimeles, Principal Research Economist Department, African Development Bank."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beyond MDGs: an African perspective Abebe Shimeles, Principal Research Economist Department, African Development Bank

2 Outline of the presentation 1. Highlights of Africa’s progress towards MDGs 2. Beyond MDGs: challenges 3. Rethinking MDGs in Africa 4. Concluding remarks

3 1.Highlights of Africa’s progress towards MDGs On average SSA is the region with the slowest pace of progress towards reaching targets set in the MDGs (UNDP, 2009). There are significant disparities across countries in the progress towards MDGs Some countries progressed rapidly towards achieving some targets, while others recorded much slower progress. (see Figure below)

4 Figure 1: Progress towards universal education in selected African countries

5 1.Highlights of Africa’s progress towards MDGs (contd) Significant disparity in progress attained across goals. Good progress in the area of universal primary education in most countries, while there is little progress in reducing malnutrition or infant/maternal mortality. No pattern or correlation in the progress across goals/targets

6 1.Highlights of Africa’s progress towards MDGs (contd) Tracking progress is undermined by lack of timely and reliable data on targets. Despite efforts in generating MDGs-related data in most African countries, poor quality is still a significant challenge for monitoring progress in real time.

7 2. Beyond MDGs: challenges It is well recognized that MDGs are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time- bound targets. But, the multiplicity of targets (18) and indicators to monitor progress (45) naturally reduces focus & compromises policy coordination; this is compounded by the weak capacity of most African countries.

8 2.Beyond MDGs: challenges (contd..) Little effort has been made to recognize that most of the targets are means to accelerate economic prosperity; but often they are considered as ends in their own right. As a result, there is a weak mapping from targets to policy instruments or vice versa. Identifying robust & potent policy instruments to achieve a set of targets is complicated by multiplicity of targets

9 MDGs also often lack coherence & coordination partly because of multiplicity of players. Governments, development agencies (UNDP, bilateral aid agencies, etc..), NGOs, civil society organizations have rallied themselves around MDGs often resulting in duplication of efforts. The multiplicity of players naturally results in sub-optimal of resources. 2. Pro-poor policies after MDGs: challenges (contd)

10 3. Rethinking MDGs in Africa MDGs will continue to be relevant beyond 2015 for a number of reasons: As shared vision, they can rally public support for increased ODA in donor countries; They provide a platform for better development partnership The goals are popular and easily understandable; this important for building public support behind the goals. But, they need rethinking in the following areas for effective implementation

11 3. Rethinking MDGs in Africa (contd..) MDG targets are known to be inversely proportional with initial conditions putting very low income countries at a disadvantage. There is a need to steer away from one-size-fits-all type of goal setting and come up with smarter targets that can be adopted to different circumstances. E.g use local poverty lines instead of global ones to measure extreme poverty, etc..

12 3. Rethinking MDGs in Africa (contd..) Refocusing targets: the focus should be on the following two encompassing goals. Focused Goal 1: Promoting growth wealth creation is a perquisite for redistribution, investment, acceleration of the increase in living standards growth targets encapsulate progress in other targets such as education, health, infrastructure, etc.. focusing on growth allows optimal use of resources.

13 3. Rethinking MDGs in Africa (contd..) Focused goal 2: Reducing inequality rising inequality is a major constraint to wealth creation and poverty reduction (see Figure below)

14 3.Rethinking development goals beyond MDGs Reduction of inequality in all forms (income, health, education, access to resources) increases the gains from growth across cross- section of society and regions Lower inequality promotes social justice and stability Lower inequality facilitates future growth prospects, particularly in settings where unemployment is high and resources are underutilized

15 3. Rethinking pro-poor policies after MDGs (contd..) Better definition of policy instruments So far there is no clear mapping from policy instruments to targets no information on the sensitivity of targets to instruments no defined intermediate targets as a principle, the fewer the targets, the easier the implementation & monitoring Another major problem in the current setting is lack of adequate control over the policy instruments: Poor policy alignment Weak harmonization of aid policies

16 4. Concluding remarks Experience from SSA suggests that the popular policy action to reach the MDGs is to scale up government expenditure/ODA in the delivery of basic social services. In some cases aid agencies have taken over the place of government in the name of MDGs.

17 4. Concluding remarks Little attention has been paid to economy- wide effects of interventions and interactions across interventions. Several countries undertook a needs assessment (costing MDGs) that clearly indicated that none of the targets are affordable without massive scale up of ODA

18 4. Concluding remarks (contd) Some progress in MDGs can be traced back to involvement of large donor resources. However, aid-driven progress towards the MDGs raises concerns of sustainability of targets (risk of deterioration of targets after aid). Focusing on multiple targets creates a dispersion of policy attention and results in spreading the resources too thin, including human capacity.

19 4. Concluding remarks (contd) As we look forward beyond 2015, it is imperative to rethink MDGsin terms of: Instrument-target alignment, Prioritization of targets, Sequencing, Greater coherence of financing with overall development strategy of each country.

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