• Africa's renaissance deserves continued support | Helen Clark

    24 May 2013

    women in burundi
    Women in Burundi recycle waste as part of a programme to reintegrate returnees and ex-combatants into society. (Photo: UNDP Burundi)

    Many African countries have made significant progress towards the Millennium Development Goals.  Many more children, including girls, are getting an education than ever before. The proportion of people living in extreme poverty is falling.  The numbers of women elected to legislatures is growing, and the tide is turning on HIV.

    Meanwhile, there has been a rise in trade, investment and development cooperation with emerging economies, which have been successful in the fight against poverty. Over the past decade, nearly half the financing of infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa was provided by governments and regional funds from elsewhere in the South.

    The rise of Africa is thus associated with a rising South overall. A significant number of developing countries have transformed themselves into dynamic emerging economies with growing influence, and the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty has fallen from 43 percent to 22 percent.

    This good news has been the result of pragmatic economic strategies, innovative social policies, and the willingness of proactive developing states to invest in physical infrastructure and human development.

    Africa’s battle against poverty and hunger is not yet over, but at UNDP we are confident  it can and will be won. The challenge now is for Africa to get more poverty reduction from its growth.

    Investing in its youthful population and tackling inequalities will contribute to this. Women, youth, people living with disabilities, minorities and all those who are currently marginalized yearn for the opportunity to get ahead. Fast and inclusive growth also needs to be green. While environmental threats affect us all, they hit poor communities the hardest.

    Overall, Africa needs global support of its development: pledges of more and better-quality aid delivered; a breakthrough in the stalemate in the WTO’s Doha Round, and a new climate agreement; and global institutions with greater voice and decision-making power for the South.


About the author
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Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme in 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group.

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