Week 15: MDG and Zambia

Center for Global Development (CGD) analyses trends of countries of how they have fared against the eight core Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets: extreme poverty, hunger, education, gender, child mortality, maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, and water. The key findings include:

  • Capture

    Map of world with progress scores

    Low- Versus Middle-Income Country Performance

  • Indicator Performance Trends
  • Country Changes
  • Absolute Country Performance
  • Data Challenges

Zambia Progress Report (CGD)

Low-income countries, such as Zambia, progress toward the MDGs improved modestly while middle income countries’ performance declined.  Low-income countries improved, on average on four core MDG targets: extreme poverty, hunger, HIV/AIDS, and child mortality.  Yet, performance declined modestly for three core targets: education, gender equality, and child mortality.

Zambia received a score of 2.5 out of 8 on their MDG progress. The score is set up by a scale of 0 to 1. The scorecard on the left shows the MDG progress for Zambia, according to the data from Center for Global Development

  • 0 = Not met the MDG requirement
  • 0.5 = Not met but close to meeting the MDG requirement
  • 1 = Met the MDG requirement

Another source of MDG indicators is the MDG Progress Reports for each country provided by the United Nations Development Programme.  The latest report and data is from 2013.  Overall the progress to reach the targets is encouraging, yet Zambia is still confronted by challenges that hold back key policy and institutional reforms, and consequently the overall pace of implementation.

Map of Zambia

MDG 1: Extreme poverty is decreasing but at a very slow rate.  For MDG 1, different organization have presented different results about Zambia’s performs with eradicating extreme poverty.  I believe part of the problem is how you measure extreme poverty and where it occurs.  Although the proportion of Zambian living in extreme poverty has declined in the past decade, the proportion of rural Zambians in extreme poverty has increased.

MDG 2: Universal primary education is within reach. Zambia has made steady progress on primary school enrolment, which has increased from 80 percent in 1990 to 93 7 percent in 2010. The improvement can be linked to the boost in primary education infrastructure and the introduction of free education.

MDG 3: Gender equality and the empowerment of women require special measures.  On the positive, Zambia is on track to achieve gender parity in primary school enrollment as well as in literacy among 15-24-year old.  The negative is the country has moved backwards on women’s participation in government in both local councils.

Children of Zambia

MDG 4: Child mortality remains high.  Child mortality has declined by almost 30 percent since 1992, but is still unacceptable high. The mortality rate of children under five dropped from 190.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1992 to 137.6 per 1000 live births in 2010.

MDG 5: Improving maternal health requires renewed emphasis.   Although maternal mortality in Zambia has been falling, the decline is insufficient to reach the 2015 target of 162.3 deaths per 100,000 live births.   Interventions that have been successful, and need to be scaled up, include improved use of contraception for birth spacing, prevention of early marriages, and the deployment of more trained midwives and birth attendants.

MDG 6: Gains on HIV&AIDS, malaria and other major diseases must not be lost.  Zambia has already surpassed the MDG target for number of Zambians infected with HIV.  Therefore, the focus must be redirected to prevention.  The fact that HIV incidence is higher in women than in men demonstrates that the underlying causes of income and gender inequality need to be addressed as well.

MDG 7: Gaining lost ground on environmental sustainability.  Land covered by forests in Zambia reduced from 59.8 percent in 1990 to 49.9 percent in 2010. This decline stems from over-exploitation through logging for wood fuel and encroachment for agriculture and settlements.  Zambia has however observed improvements in the provision of clean water, although the proportion of the population without access to improved sanitation facilities is not getting any better.

MDG 8: An evolving global partnership for development as Zambia transitions to a middle-income country.  Zambia has implemented reforms since the 1990s that have seen the development of a fairly open, rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory trading and financial system.  The country has also graduated from a low-income to a lower middle-income country, which means the country now has less access to concessional lending and overseas development assistance.

My main critique of the MDG is how expansive they are in scope.  The goals try to tackle development of lower income countries by trying to improve every aspect of development at once.  The two focuses of the development goals should be economics and education.  Stronger partnerships and domestic financing, with strong support from the private sector, are key to furthering improvements in living standards.  In previous post, the overall theme in regards to promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women comes down to education.  Education in turn will improve health and ultimately, the quality of life.


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