At the current pace of change sub-Saharan Africa will not attain international povertyreduction goals until 2147, more than a century later than hoped, the UN DevelopmentProgramme's annual human development report warned yesterday.The findings underline the depth of the challenges facing the continent as PresidentGeorge W. Bush makes his first tour of African countries.While substantial progress in China and India during the 1990s meant worldwide povertyreduction targets could be achieved, "a very significant hard core of countries endedfurther behind [after the 90s]," says Mark Malloch Brown, the UNDP's head. Fifty-fourcountries (many from Africa and the former Soviet bloc) grew poorer, and 21 saw adecline in their human development indicators, such as life expectancy and education.The report calls for renewed attention to this group of often small and landlockednations, which are "perilously off track". Rich countries, it says, must make a much moreserious commitment to achieving the eight "Millennium Development Goals" agreed inSeptember 2000. They include halving extreme poverty by 2015, and creating a "nondiscriminatorytrading and financial system".At present, says the UNDP, the EU's cash subsidy to each dairy cow exceeds its totalper capita aid to the region, while US subsidies to cotton growers more than triple USgovernment aid to sub-Saharan Africa. "Unless rich countries keep their pledges todeliver financing for development, the goals will not be met," it says.Mr Malloch Brown underlined the inadequacy of the "Washington Consensus" model ofdevelopment during the 1990s, which focused upon macroeconomic stability, and latergovernance, without adequately tackling social services and other "structuralconstraints", such as roads and ports.More effective aid was also needed. Although the Monterrey conference ondevelopment funding last year produced promises of an extra $16bn (£9.5bn) a year by2006, this would still bring total assistance to 0.26 per cent of OECD countries' incomes- far short of the traditional 0.7 per cent target for aid.The report also highlights the devastating" impact of Aids on development in sub-Saharan Africa. The Millennium Goals include reversing the spread of Aids by 2015 andthe UNDP says stronger leadership, and more support for health systems, is essential.Cur rently, official development assistance for health "is equal to just $0.01 of every$100 of donor countries' GNP - too little to meet even the basic health needs ofdeveloping countries.""The millennium development goals are a very tough subject to pick: the UN and the Birdsall, head of the Center for Global Development. "Do the goals give any sense ofpriorities, or are they just another wish list?"Development is a complex business, she says. "This is useful as a way of getting morepeople engaged."Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, says the list may seemdaunting, but that is the reality - and it is simpler than it appears. "You can't addresshealth without water, you can't address water without education."But, he adds: "The nature of the investments that need to be made are ratherstraightforward ...Any serious calculation shows this can be done for less than 1 per centof GNP for the rich world."The basic economic reality is very different from 25 years ago. We can invest toeliminate poverty, and we are the first generation to say that," says Mr Sachs."Development does work."
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