Several African countries have made outstanding progress to attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the past few years, according to ambassador Bouna Sémou Diouf, head of the Tokyo International Conference on Africa's Development (TICAD).
Sémou Diouf is main advisor to the UN under-secretary general UNDP deputy administrator for Africa.He made the appraisal Wednesday at the opening of a regional workshop on the MDG-oriented planning process in Lome (Togo).
Sémou Diouf said that among the countries that made "outstanding progress" were Tanzania, Gambia, Kenya, Senegal and Botswana which, according to him, have "achieved or are about to achieve the goal to ensure primary education for all".
In addition to this component, he added that Mali, Burkina Faso and Gambia, "have made huge progress for their populations' access to basic health services".
He pointed out that Senegal and Uganda "have clearly shown that with a sound use of resources and a political will at the highest level, the spread of the HIV/AIDS can be stopped".
Sémou Diouf further commended Rwanda for "the large-scale measures taken" to promote gender equality in democratic rule.
However, "the reliable figures available clearly show that the progress made by most African countries to meet the MDGs are far from being optimal," he noted.
He blames the slow progress in attaining the MDGs on the poor access to resources, the lack of integrated development policies, non- existence of a real reorientation of national development strategies and poverty reduction.
To help countries make consistent progress, it's imperative to introduce MDG-oriented planning processes adopted at the Millennium Summit in 2005, he suggested.
Therefore, the current workshop seeks to make an assessment of the progress made i each country in implementing the MDG-oriented strategies.
It (the workshop) will also address the identification and resolution of the technical and methodological difficulties in implementing the MDGs, as well as the UNDP's necessary support.
More than 120 participants from 23 African and Indian Ocean countries are attending the three-day workshop, which ends here Friday.
The UN General Assembly adopted the MDGs in September 2000 during the Millennium Summit in New York, aimed at increasing efforts by all countries to increase access of their populations to education and health and alleviate poverty.