by Ruth Aine - 07 January 2014
Human development is critical to our conversation these days. Before the year 2000, I remember there being a rumor that the world was going to get a certain shift, and that of course would change the course of everything. 13 years later, nothing has changed in regard to the rumors made.
In September 2000, Fifteen year global targets, labeled the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs] were formulated and countries in the United Nations [UN] began to struggle to make their own mark and achieve the goals set. With just 2 years left, some have been met and some have not been met. There is and has been an increase in economic growth in most of Africa, but I must be quick to add that while there is visible economic growth, there is also imminent poverty.
According to the United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] the goal to have poverty halved before 2015 has been achieved. Suffering though still remains high. Absolute poverty has gone down overall in the world but we are yet to see this change trickle down the whole demographic. I will tell you that my grandmother is still living the way the she has lived for the last 20 or so years. She still has to send someone to the bore hole to help her fetch water because she is too old to go and get it herself. She will once in a while when she falls sick, request that my mother send her money to go see a doctor. She also still depends on her gardens that she has to till year on year for food. It is no longer possible for her to live on just the food that her garden produces, because it is not reliable. It is dependent on the weather patterns. And yet she is one of the lucky ones. She lives in poverty though. The prices of alternative food have gone up. In spite of huge progress made in trying to end poverty, one in every four individuals globally still lives on less than $1.25 a day. In some places, the absolute number of poor people is increasing. My grandmother makes the list.
But there is hope. And not just in the fact that there is now a Post 2015 Agenda but also an increased eagerness by everyone to make this world a better place.
The future we want has become everyone's concern, governments, civil society, youth and the private stakeholders as well.
But what will this mean? How do we create the future we want for ourselves? Here are a few pointers.
Poverty is best fought with economic development. All energies ought to be directed to asking/helping/working with governments to create pro-business environments. There should be a clear agenda set for engaging the private sector as well. That way, we are sure that there is a resolve to help economies create and maintain finances for themselves and give up reliance on foreign aid.
Our systems need to function. One of the things that is increasingly getting difficult to find on this continent are institutions that can work by themselves. This needs to change if we are going to be able to create a pro-human development agenda, of the kind that will enable us to end poverty. Africa is in need of well governed, accountable and effective institutions that are independent of the type that are corruption free and deliver effective public administration. This can be done.
ides have been made in the journey of eradication and fighting of poverty, but they are neither tracked nor documented. This is not good because we keep repeating past mistakes. Can we see that we do not go back to repeat the same mistakes we made before? The systems need to be secured against reversal. That way, what is in the past will be in the past and it will never be repeated because it is known. We risk many of the past gains being lost in the future because they were never documented.
It is the future we want, let us make it work for us and the generations to come.