The UN is prone to throw challenges here and there to the world. One of the challenges lingering from its start in 2000 is the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). All UN Members ceremoniously enlisted for this homework.
The aim of the MDG is to meet 8 poverty reduction goals by 2015. It is grand, laudable but utopian and unachievable. I believe that such goals, assuming the world is serious, requires government ethics, accountability and transparency at all levels. I am sorry, that does not exist in Africa and please let us not generalize on exception.
Furthermore, in general, UN decisions are not binding on its member states. That’s convenient and the core reason of the UN longevity. Country’s leaders want to be “accountable” to their citizens and not to the world. The General Assembly is a good venue for world leaders to get acquainted, visit NY and enjoy good food. They talk but rarely solve issues of extraordinary importance.
Goal 1 – Eradicate extreme poverty and Hunger
The poorest countries are in Africa and the consensus, and mine, is due to endemic corruption and bad governance. Africa unscrupulously loot donors and itself. It is estimated that over all corruption cost in Africa alone is US $150 billion per year while donors gave sub-Sahara US $22.5 billion in 2008.
Africa not only robs its constituents but as well the nationals from the largest donor countries such as the USA, Germany, UK, France and Japan. Gullible countries like Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden give more than 0.7% of their Gross National Income target set up by the United Nations from member states.
I am wrong! The aforementioned countries do not lose so much. A big chunk of the stolen money is recycled in the bank accounts of the richest countries. Also, notice that China is scrupulously not among these countries. Simple! They use the well documented colonial methods of direct funding to corrupt African Nations; “That’s for you … Now, give me the resources that I need and you can starve or kill you people for all I care!” This is their bit in eradicating poverty and hunger.
Africa food import is about US $22 billion per year or 1/6 of what is misappropriated via corruption.
Africa starves its own people!
Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education
Some African countries have been quite avant-garde in providing free primary education. That’s nice, considering that 40% of African children never attend primary school. The élite educate their children in expensive schools and foreign universities to acquire the baggage to perpetually lobotomize the small earnings of the uneducated mass.
Who cares about free primary education! When schools are non-existent or dilapidated, teaching materials are in tatters or out of date, school children are subjected to corporal punishment and under age girls are raped and impregnated by their underpaid teachers. In many cases donor fund provided for education are out rightly stolen by the government, its elites and cronies and the ministries involved.
A nice free primary educations system isn’t? Good for nicely covered reports, full of figures and nice graphs to satisfy the world community. Wow, you are doing so good, congratulations!
Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women
Women are second class citizen in the African culture, a way of life and a state of mind from time memoria. A change of a cultural mentality is a long and tedious gradual process and categorically impossible to meet by 2015.
The women’s right to vote in the USA was attained after a 70 years wait, in 1920 in the USA, 1928 in the UK, 1944 in France and 1971 in Switzerland. Who in their right mind can think that’s such process can be effected by year 2015 in Africa?
The culture in general transfers inheritance to sons and not daughters. In Swaziland the king must marry a woman of each tribe, in South Africa President Zuma wants a sixth wife, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima of Nigeria married a 13 years old girl and I have an educated Kenyan acquaintance who has two sisters as wives.
Yes, you can “empower” women by setting a certain amount of post in a government. The result will be only cosmetic, again to satisfy the nicely covered reports and these women will come from the élite, as usual, to satisfy nepotism.
Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality, Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health and Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases.
In Africa poor do not have access to medical facilities. When available they are emptied of medicine and skilled staff. Donated medical equipment can collect dust for years for lack of competent staff to use them. Patients lay two in a bed or can rest on floors.
The medical sector of many African countries is a land mine of probes and scandals. This is a looter’s paradise “par excellence” since donor country like to pour funds in this bottomless pit. Due to poor governance and lack of public expenditure management, rural Africa gets almost no money to ease child mortality and improve maternal health. Idiotic Governments’ policies “genocides” children dying of preventable diseases. A woman in labor can walk kilometers to reach a medical facility.
I hope you understand, now, why more than half of the children are delivered at home! How can you pay for medical care or buy condoms on an income of slightly over one dollar per day? Any improvement in this sector is due, in great part, to the direct involvement and the work done on the field by trusted NGO or benevolent organizations. These guys deserve the medals.
President Yahya Jammeh from Gambia claims he cures AID, not more than ten patients per day, and that’s what he does besides running his Government. Can’t the international community stop this quack?
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
In Africa, according to statistic, 42% lack access to clean water and 64% have little or no sanitation. Do you know that Africa, as a continent, holds the second largest capacity of fresh water in the world? Also, it suffers from a depletion of agricultural and natural land areas and unmanaged exploitation of natural resources.
The answer for that is again and again bad governance and corruption.
Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development
Africa is loaded with natural resources. You don’t know! Then ask China!
A Global Partnership for Development is last because of its monstrosity, that’s the coffer African statesmen want to loot. It is a vicious circle and will offer no good result unless effective good ethic and governance is implemented.
I see peculiar similarities between the Dodo bird and the MDG. The MDG will push lots of Dodo dropping called documents, reports, statistic and specialized papers about causes and effects. The Dodo is extinct and the other will follow a similar fate.
Please, smell the coffee! The obvious result will be the widening of the divide between the poor and the rich. Maybe fading sparks of hope will be achieved here and there but nothing substantial.
Coluche was right when he stated that “God said: I will share in two; the food shall be for the rich and hunger for the poor”.
Jesus stated: “The poor you will always have with you…” and there are those who want to ensure that these words will always ring true.
Last week, from 20-22 September, there was an U.N. summit regarding the progress of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). For those unfamiliar with what this is all about, in 2000 the world leaders came together at the United Nations and adopted 8 “measurable” goals, (measurable by 18 targets complemented by 48 technical indicators) to reduce extreme poverty worldwide by 2015 (see here).
While these world leaders, political as well as business leaders, predominately western, white and male, were assessing and refining their plans for the future of the black and brown peoples, who are the majority of the world’s population, there was little or no coverage, nor interest by the AfroSphere. There was some interesting commentary for example by MsAfropolitan, based in London and Lagos that I read, while the African-American blogging community was wholeheartedly and rabidly committed to arguing about the (alleged) Bishop Eddie Long sex scandal. What the “African”-American community fails to realize is that these plans (I mean “Goals”), which appears to be directed at the so-called “third world”… you know those “other black and brown people” across the Atlantic… directly affects their quality of life in America. I remember reading somewhere that black people worldwide are either victims of capitalism or imperialism, which are two sides of the same coin.
On the surface the MDGs, with it’s objective to reduce extreme poverty, seems to be based on good intentions. However as the saying goes: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Although it has been long concluded, by their own targets and indicators, that the MDGs will never be met, there is enough perceived successes to make the interested parties feel good about themselves, while shifting blame for the failures on the black and brown peoples, their corrupt leaders and their own economic mismanagement. These illusions of success, coupled with blaming the victims of neocolonial exploitation, perpetuates the international status quo and as we can see, for those who care to look, that means it’s business as usual. The rich get richer and the poor… well Jesus did say that they will always be with us… so blame God.
Here is an article and video at Aljazeera discussing the MDGs called: Scoring Goals
Interestingly, the business of poverty is apparently just as profitable in the world of rock and roll. Ironically, at the same time that the MDGs summit was commencing, there was also a news report last week involving the charity ONE, co-founded by U2 frontman Bono, who is an outspoken advocate for the Millennium Development Goals. According to its’ 2008 tax records, ONE took in close to $15 million in public donations, paid over $8 million on executive and employee salaries, while only $184,732 was distributed to three charities! Although ONE doesn’t actually deny the media reports, in the interest of fairness, here is a link to their response.
Now I know Bono doesn’t handle the day to day operation of the charity, as his role appears to be jet-setting around the world fraternizing with these world leaders, lobbying for debt relief and more aid for Africa… but the question I ask is this: how committed is he to his own cause? Well I’ll probably never get an audience with him to ask, so the next best thing is to look at his own actions.
Bono’s fashion company Edun, which according to it’s mission statement, he and his wife founded “to create sustainable trade and promote local economic opportunities in Africa”, is now moving most of it’s production to China. Why? Profits over Poverty of-course! (read here)
He is forever calling for western governments to spend more money on aid, which in reality is taxpayers’ money, but he and U2 decided to move part of their business interests from Ireland to The Netherlands in 2006, because the government put a cap on the amount of tax-free earnings available to artists (read here). Now I am one who does whatever I can to lessen my tax burden (legally of-course), but the fact is that tax revenue, especially from the rich and corporations (Bono is both), is needed to sustain social services for the less fortunate in society. This is why there is a sense of disgust when we see them take advantage of the loopholes and tax havens to avoid their civic, corporate and humane responsibilities to their fellow human beings. Therefore, if Bono doesn’t care about the less fortunate in the country where he resides, Ireland, then why would he really care about a bunch of Africans?
MsAfropolitan cleverly titles her above post about the MDS: “Friends with Benefits”, to accurately describe Africa’s relationship with the West. Speaking from personal experience, the one who becomes dependent and emotionally committed to this type of arrangement, is at a disadvantage and gains no “benefits” whatsoever. However in the short term they may fool themselves into actually believing that they do, mainly because of the “sweet nothings” that are being whispered into their ears… while they’re being fucked.