The promise of development-aid

Let us now consider the biggest development-aid idea ever conceived for humanity; The Millennium Development Goals – MDG. The Millennium Development Goals is a firm commitment by the world community to act on eight broad issues believed to be at the core of human development. These eight topics are:

(i)                 Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger – requiring that the proportion of people living on one US dollar per day and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger are both halved between 1990 and 2015.

(ii)               Ensure that by 2015 every child in the world is able to complete primary education.

(iii)             Elimination of gender disparity at all levels of education by 2015.

(iv)             Reduction of the under 5 year-old mortality ratio by two-third between 1990 and 2015.

(v)               Reduction of maternal mortality ratio by three-quarters between 1990 and 2015, and to make possible universal access to reproductive health by 2015.

(vi)             Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases requiring that by 2015 HIV/AIDS spread is halted; by 2010 universal access to treatment of HIV/AIDS possible for all who need it; by 2015 stop the incidence of malaria and other major diseases.

(vii)            Ensure environmental sustainability through integration of environmental principles in country laws to stop loss of environmental resources; significantly reduce bio-diversity loss by 2010; halve by 2015 the number of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

(viii)         Create a global partnership for development through;  trade and tariff regimes sympathetic of the needs of least developed countries; adequate consideration of the special needs of landlocked and small island states; comprehensive solution to the debt problems of developing countries.


Clearly African nations, particularly those at the sub-Saharan region, are bound to benefit most from the MDG’s should there be progress made at realising these goals. A large portion of the funds required to meet the MDG’s are to be sourced from the G8 countries (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK, USA) and the 22-member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Although marginal signs of progress on all the 8 points of the MDG’s have been recorded [2], these goals remain genuinely beyond the intended timelines. The availability and management of the funds needed to meet these goals remain a disturbing issue. Commitments made by the donor nations towards the MDG’s are tied to the economic situation in these nations. Figure 2 shows some data on development-aid to sub-Saharan Africa where it can be seen that the growth curve of aid resources has remained somewhat flat over the past 8 years [2]

The current global economic crisis caused by a complex combination of energy-food issues on the supply/demand curve, dishonest transactions at the mortgage sectors, non-regulated credit practices and protracted expensive war campaigns, make the realisation of MDG’s difficult. These events indeed divert attention from the world’s poor and all the problems which they are experiencing.

An editorial report from the New York Times [3] indicates that aid from the world’s developed countries fell by 13% between the year 2005 and 2007; to below $104 billion, after inflation. Leaders of the developed nations had promised in 2002 to dedicate 0.7% of their gross national income to aid destined for a wide variety of global problems. Only Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Denmark have been able to keep this promise. Germany stands at 0.36% – 2005 [4], Japan at 0.17% [3] and the USA at 0.16% [3]. Under the current economic crisis it is hard to imagine how prudently these nations will be able to fulfil their promises. Together with this, OECD countries cut back 5.1 percentage points from their official development assistance (ODF) [5].

Professor Brando Okolo, African Heritage Man of the year 2011 is a full Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the German University in Cairo – Egypt


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