The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) call for cutting extreme poverty in half, reducing child mortality by two-thirds, halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, and achieving universal primary education by 2015. The UN MDG Report 2007 says we are well on our way towards meeting the needs of the world’s poorest — except for Africa. Those reporting on MDGs say that sub-Saharan Africa is not on track to meet any of these goals.
On February 6, the Brookings Institution and the Center for Global Development hosted Professor William Easterly for a presentation of his recent paper, “How the Millennium Development Goals Are Unfair to Africa.” Easterly discussed his analysis that most African countries’ predicted failure will result more from the design of the goals and how they are measured than from unique deficiencies in Africa’s development process. Nancy Birdsall, president of the Center for Global Development, moderated, and Danny Leipziger of the World Bank provided his view of the relationship between the MDGs and Africa.