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Uganda will achieve MDGs, says minister Musumba

By Vision Reporter

Added 9th September 2005 03:00 AM

UGANDA is the only country in the east African region set to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the finance state minister, Isaac Musumba (left), said on Thursday.

UGANDA is the only country in the east African region set to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the finance state minister, Isaac Musumba (left), said on Thursday.

By Ricks Kayizzi

UGANDA is the only country in the east African region set to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the finance state minister, Isaac Musumba (left), said on Thursday.

Launching the 2005 Human Development Report at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, Musumba said having jumped two places to 144th position in the global rankings, Uganda was on course towards achieving the highly publicised UN set targets by 2015. “We have strived to stay on course in as far as the MDGs are concerned. We look forward to achieving the goals by 2015,” Musumba said.

MDGs are a set of eight specific objectives on poverty reduction of people living on $1 per day, hunger, primary education, AIDS, good governance and elimination of corruption, among others.

Musumba said the Government has been consistent in the fight against HIV/AIDS, improving life expectancy with an aggregate of one year per year.

He said that the life expectancy has grown from 45 years in 2003, 46 years in 2004 and 47 years in 2005.

The recently released Human Development report has also cast Uganda into the league of moderately developing countries.

For the first time in its history, Uganda has jumped out of the ‘low human development’ category to become one of only 18 African countries in the ‘medium human development’ category.

UGANDANS enjoy longer, healthier lives and are more educated, according to the latest United Nations global Human Development Index (HDI) rankings.

The 2005 Human Development Report shows Uganda climbing two places to 144th position in the global rankings.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN’s global development network, compiles the annual ranking of 177 countries.
According to the report to be launched officially on Thursday,

It now joins Libya, South Africa, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Namibia and Botswana among others. In 2004, Uganda was 146th.

The HDI measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development namely; a longer healthier life, as measured by life expectancy at birth; adult literacy rate and gross enrolment ratio in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions.

It also includes a decent standard of living, as measured by GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) terms.

Uganda’s State Minister for Planning, Mr Isaac Musumba, is expected to launch the report at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel tomorrow.

Kenya and Tanzania
According to the report, Kenya (154th) and Tanzania (164th) are still languishing in the ‘low development category,’ following their unexpected drops from last year’s 148th and 162nd positions respectively.

The report shows that 18 of the world’s poorest countries, with a total population of 460 million, are worse off on the key human development indicators than they were 15 years ago.

The countries, which also include Tanzania, have little chance of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), unless the international community steps in to help with more resources and new policies.

The report will take centre stage at the 2005 World Summit due next week in New York, USA at which progress towards achieving the MDGs unanimously adopted by world leaders in 2000, will be assessed.

The MDGs include eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women.

Others arereducing child mortality, improving, maternal health, combating HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development.

Recently, the UN Secretary General’s Chief Adviser on the MDGs, Mr Jeffrey Sachs told Ugandan journalists at a press conference that the country was “off track” as far as achieving the MDGs was concerned.

Macro-economic indicators show that the proportion of Ugandans living in absolute poverty has shot up from 35% to 38% in between 2000-2003, reversing the much more positive trend over the previous 15 years.

Not surprisingly, the report says 50 countries Uganda inclusive, with a combined population of almost 900 million are falling backwards on at least one of the MDGs.

However, while focusing on the role richer countries must play to defeat poverty by increasing aid, trade and security, the report notes that development is ultimately up to how the governments of developing countries tackle inequalities, respect human rights, encourage investment and fight corruption.

The report also blames unfair trade policies for denying millions of people in the world’s poorest countries an “escape route from poverty” by perpetuating “obscene inequalities.”

It argues that trade has the potential to act as an effective catalyst for human development and accelerated progress towards the MDGs, but that potential is undermined by present trade policies and structural forces that exclude poor people from market opportunities.

“Trade has the potential to act as a more powerful force for human development than aid alone,” the report reads.

It cites sub-Saharan Africa as becoming increasingly marginalised in the world market and that despite its population of some 689 million people, the region accounts for a smaller share of world exports than Belgium, with a population of just 10 million people.

The report reveals that if Africa had maintained its share of world exports that it enjoyed in the 1980s, its exports today would be some $119 billion higher, about five times the aid provided by rich countries since 2002.
Trade barriers.

It notes that “The world’s highest trade barriers are erected against some of its poorest countries,” adding that on average, the trade barriers faced by developing countries exporting to rich countries were three times higher than those faced by rich countries when they trade with each other.

The report reveals that one third of exports by poor countries contribute at least two thirds of revenues collected by rich nations.

Additionally, it blames developed countries for the escalating agricultural subsidies, which have now reached $1 billion a day, compared with an equivalent amount given as agricultural aid to developing countries per year.
Armed conflict.

The report paints a gloomy picture of the terrible cost of the violent conflict in poor countries, as the major avenue in which poverty provides a breeding ground for further violence.

The report says that to achieve global development goals, the international community must break this vicious cycle.

It says the poorer the country, the more likely it is to suffer from violent conflict and countries with annual per capital income of $250 were twice as likely to descend into civil war than those with an annual per capita income of $600.

But it adds, “Attempting to establish whether these countries are poor because they are in conflict or in conflict because they are poor is a futile and a largely meaningless exercise.

“What is clear is that poverty is part of the cycle that creates and perpetuates violent conflict and that violent conflict feeds back to reinforce poverty.”

Uganda will achieve MDGs, says minister Musumba

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