Most African nations ‘will not achieve Millennium Development Goals’

By Abigael Sum

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Most African countries will not achieve Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by the 2015 deadline, women leaders have said.

The women raised the red flag in Addis Ababa Ethiopia during a meeting that brought together leaders from across the continent.

They observed that among MDGs that will not be achieved are those focusing on gender issues and affirmative action. “MDGs have contributed significantly in advancing development, but they have failed to fully address issues to do with gender. Most African countries will not achieve the goals because they did not own them,” said Judith Ameso of UNECA.

She noted the MDG that focused on social development, for instance, has not addressed the root cause of poverty, but only symptoms.

“What we should now focus on is post-MDGs because African countries are lagging behind. Africa should articulate what it wants in 2015 based on its experiences and the level of development arising from MDGs,” said Ameso at the three day strategy meeting, which brought together over 30 African women’s organisations and networks from all five sub regions of the continent.

Through the meeting, the women hoped to influence Africa’s position in shaping the post-MDG agenda.

“We want to build a strong corps of women to lobby governments and also articulate issues of women’s rights, gender equality, sustainable development and sexual and reproductive health in Agenda 2063,” said Femnet Executive Director Dinah Musindarorwezo.

Economic justice

Musindarorwezo said it was time women participated equally in decision-making and more focus put on gender issues to accelerate progress made from MDGs.

“We need to be cognisant that even though we are an emerging power, we are not provided with equal opportunities. We are portrayed as weak, vulnerable yet we have great potential to steer development,” explained Zenebewerke Tadesse from Ethiopia.

During the discussions, MDGs were heavily criticised as being narrow since they reduced broader development concerns to targets.