A Global Partnership for Development was adopted by 189 nations, signed by 147 heads of state and governments during the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. Bill Gates has called them “the best idea for focusing the world on fighting global poverty that [he has] ever seen.” The signing of the partnership was the beginning of the process towards the establishment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Nigeria was among the countries to establish an office for MDG. The goals of the MDG which has year 2015 as the deadline are intended to pave the way forward in order to cut world’s poverty by half and ensure that by 2015 boys and girls in developing countries will complete a full course of primary schooling. Other goals of the scheme include: to promote gender equality, empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and ensure environmental sustainability.
With only five years to the deadline date towards achieving some of ther noble goals, can it be said that the agency has achieved much so far since its establishment?
Recently the supervisor of MDGs in Nigeria who is also the senior special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Hajia Amina Mohammed Az-zubair told Economic Confidential that there has been a lot of achievement on the agency programmes in Nigeria. She said that the funding for the projects goes through an appropriation at the Federal level as the agency uses ministries, departments and agencies as the vehicle for implementation. She said “when an entity is responsible for specific objectives it is important not to go and do it for them.”
To some extent lately there are published reports of some of ther projects in the country including portable water where they had never been before; additional classroom blocks where they are much needed and construction of clinics with provision of drugs.
As much as MDG office continues to ensure that more schools and classrooms are constructed, it should further look at the area of recruiting qualified teachers and training the existing ones for imparting adequate knowledge to the pupils and students. With that, yearly reported mass failure in common entrance examinations could be minimized.
The teachers should also benefit from good accommodations in the vicinity of the schools to encourage promptness to classes and enable them monitor their students closely.
Health is a key input to economic development because it raises the productivity of the work force and increases the attractiveness of the economy for investors, domestic and foreign. The goal of the agency to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases is a very broad one because it presents a serious challenge, particularly for child and maternal mortality rates. While some achievements have been recorded in that regard based on media reports of constructions of primary health care centres across the states through the MDG office in Nigeria, there is urgent need to look at staffing because in reality some of those centres lack qualified nurses and doctors. Grants could also be given to academic institutions to research on some of these diseases, combinations for long-term prophylactic use as well as safe and effective treatment for both resistant and uncomplicated cases.
It would not be out of place to request that where necessary the agency should also provide electricity through the only guarantee for such which is power generators.
On the area of job creation, despite the economic growth recorded in the past, the country’s economy is not growing enough to absorb the number of unemployed people. This has worsened with the current global economic meltdown. Women are still largely relegated to the background, especially to vulnerable forms of employment. I could not see, in specific terms how the MDG is trying to address that disparity on the gender inequality.
While one can pinpoint some recordable achievements of the office MDGs in Nigeria, there is more it could do in alleviating poverty and other goals. Urgent actions are required on the part of Nigeria governments, the citizens, and the private sector to scale up efforts toward achieving the MDGs. Stakeholders are expected to take responsibility and join forces to carry out specific functions that will make the goals achievable.