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Current Macroeconomic Frameworks, challenges and alternatives for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Jesimen T. Chipika

27 June 2007

Paper presented at the SARPN policy dialogue: "It is almost half-time": Will the SADC Region Achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the Target Date of 2015?
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Introduction - Summary of MDG Progress in SADC

The SADC region is likely to achieve the universal primary education goal. However, poverty, food insecurity, child malnutrition, gender inequality in secondary and tertiary levels of education, in the economy and political sphere, high child and maternal mortality, deforestation, rural water and sanitation remain major challenges. The falling trend in the otherwise generally high coverage of child immunization is a cause for concern. The region remains the epicenter of HIV and AIDS with double digit prevalence and on the increase in most countries. This underlies the high morbidity, mortality and orphan burden. This is against a background of weak economic performance, declining official development assistance (ODA) to the land locked SADC countries and a high debt burden. MDG Indicator graphs showing progress are provided in Appendix.

MDG 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
For most SADC region countries, the target of halving the proportion of the population below the US$1PPP per day seems unachievable. Hunger, food insecurity and child malnutrition remain a problem in the SADC region, and most of the SADC region countries may be unable to achieve the hunger reduction targets.

MDG 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
The number of children attending primary school in SADC is high with most countries likely to achieve the universal primary education goal and targets. Internal efficiency has been maintained in the primary education system as Grade 5 completion rates have generally increased in all countries between 1991 and 2004. Literacy rates for the 15-24 year olds are very high in the SADC region.

MDG 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Gender parity in primary and secondary education has been reached or is likely to be achieved in most SADC countries. Consequently, gender parity in the number of girls and boys aged 15 -24 years who are literate is achieved or likely to be achieved in most countries. Gender inequality in enrolment at tertiary school level remains a major challenge even though overall there is an improvement in gender parity in tertiary education in the SADC region. Eight of the SADC countries still have a bias against girls and 5 countries a bias against boys. Thus, overall gender parity in tertiary education may not be achievable in SADC by 2015. It should be noted that at secondary school level, the NERs are generally low such that the issue of concern should not only be to achieve parity but to increase enrolment of both boys and girls.

The share of women in wage employment in the non-agricultural sector remains very low in the SADC region; as such the overall target of 50 percent by 2015 is not achievable for most countries. More women are in parliaments in all SADC countries today than ever before. However, in most countries women remain vastly under-represented in politics.

MDG 4: Reduce Child Mortality
Under-five and infant mortality rates remain high in the SADC region with half of the countries experiencing declines which are not large enough to meet the 2015 MDG targets and five countries experiencing increases. While high immunization levels of one year olds against measles have generally been sustained in most SADC countries since 1990, the recently declining coverage in five countries by 2004 is a cause for concern.

MDG 5: Improve Maternal Health
Maternal mortality remains high and is falling at a painfully slow rate in most SADC region countries and this is combined with alarming increases in two of the countries. The target of reducing by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio will not be met by most countries in the SADC region. The most recent increasing trend is due to the impact of HIV and AIDS pandemic.

MDG 6: Combat HIV and AIDS, Malaria and other Diseases
The SADC region remains the epicenter of HIV and AIDS with HIV prevalence still in the double digit and on the increase in most countries in the SADC region. The target of halting and reversing the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2015 is not likely to be met by most countries in the SADC region. Deaths associated with tuberculosis have drastically increased in most countries in the SADC region in the past decade since 1990. Given the current context of high HIV prevalence, the 2015 target of halting and reversing the incidence of tuberculosis will not be met. Although school attendance by orphans is generally very high, a notable proportion of orphans continue to be disadvantaged in terms of school attendance in some SADC countries. The 2015 MDG target of universal school attendance by orphans is achievable.

MDG 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Deforestation is on the increase in the SADC region with most countries experiencing a fall in land area covered by forest. The proportion of land area maintained to protect biological diversity is slightly on the increase in the SADC region with most countries maintaining stable proportions and the rest slightly increasing. However, given the high rate of deforestation, the 2015 targets of reversing the loss of environmental resources are unlikely to be achieved.

Most SADC countries have achieved or are likely to achieve the 2015 targets of sustainable access to safe drinking water in urban areas. Even though most of these countries have seen an improvement in the sustainable access to an improved water source in rural areas, meeting the 2015 targets remains a challenge in the SADC region. Most SADC experiencing a decline in access to improved sanitation in urban areas and a rise in such access in rural areas. However, overall, the 2015 MDG improved sanitation targets will not be achieved in the SADC region.

MDG 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Official development assistance (ODA) to the SADC region SADC region is declining with most countries experiencing this decline between 1990 and 2004. Debt burden is still high in the SADC region with about half of the countries experiencing high double digit debt service ratios.



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