Kigali, 5 September 2010

Today, President Kagame hosted a pan-Africa consultation forum to discuss progress in delivering the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).  Leaders from across Africa met to share best practice and agree the steps needed to deliver the MDGs in Africa.

The Millennium Development Goals were agreed by UN member states in 2000, setting out eight development goals to be achieved by 2015. The Africa MDG consultative forum will identify ways to achieve the MDGs based on the Africa’s needs, rather than solutions imposed by external bodies. It will help ensure President Kagame is able to effectively represent the views of Africa in his role as co-chair of the UN’s MDG Advocacy Group and at a UN MDG Summit, which is taking place with leaders from across the globe in September.

At the summit, President Kagame said: There is no doubt that the MDGs are laudable aspirations, and the next five years will be critical for their realisation…It’s our duty to ensure that the continent actively promotes the achievement of the MDGs – not because others appeal for it, but because it’s in our own national interests as well.

Whilst there is a still a long way to go, African countries have made good progress in working towards the Millennium Development Goals. Progress has been greatest where there has been African leadership, with accountability for delivering the MDGs and a relentless focus on implementing key policy programmes, where partnerships to deliver the MDGs are aligned to our domestic priorities, and where there is an increase in private sector participation in order to develop local economies.

For example, strong leadership in Rwanda has reduce reported malarial cases by over 60% since 2005 through a coordinated campaign involving by central and local government, health clinics and door to door distribution of malaria nets.

Innovation in Ethiopia mobilised the population to push forward the goal of universal primary education. Alongside increasing education spending, the Ethiopian government decentralised school administration, involved the population in building schools, and distributed textbooks in local languages. The school enrolment rate grew to over 72% in 2007 – an increase of 88% on 2000 rates.

In Ghana, by 2006, 80% of the rural population had access to an improved drinking water source – an increase of 43% on 1990 levels – due to laying of water pipes and the building of filtering plants, driven by the private sector. This has boosted the private sector and had positive knock on effects on health outcomes.

Rwanda has made good progress towards achieving the Millennium Development goals. Rwanda has seen a significant decline in extreme hunger, improvements in healthcare have reduced child and maternal mortality, the free nine years basic education has increased net enrolment in primary eduction to 95%, with an equal proportion of girls and boys in primary and secondary school. Rwanda also has 56% of seats in lower chamber of parliament are occupied by women, the highest ratio in the world.
These examples shared at the MDG forum demonstrate the measures that can be taken to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and further improve Rwanda’s development.