Thursday, 13 July 2006

Achieving the Millennium Development Goals In Africa.

Pedro Sanchez, Cheryl Palm, Jeffrey Sachs, and Denning Glenn. Tropical Agriculture Program, The Earth Institute at Columbia Univ, 2-G Lamont Hall, P.O. Box 1000, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, NY 10964

Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where chronic malnutrition is worsening every day—a silent tsunami that is killing 200,000 people every month. The UN Millennium Project Hunger Task Force recommended to implement MDG-based poverty reduction strategies that promote science-based policies combined with community participation and decision making. The UN Millennium Project estimates that targeted investment of 110 US$ per capita per year for the next 10 years will be needed to achieve all the MDGs in rural tropical Africa. Out of this amount, around 10 US$ is the household share, while 30 US$ and 70 US$ are the government and donor's share. The amount needed from donors is around 0.7 percent of GNP by 2015. A complementary “bottom up” approach, the Millennium Villages has been established as proof of concept. How can typical impoverished African villages of about 5000 people each be empowered to achieve all the MDGs using the recommended investment level?. The 12 villages are located in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria, covering all the major farming systems and agroecologies of tropical Africa. Since restoring soil health is usually one of the top priority needs perceived by farmers, the role of soil science is critical, including combining mineral fertilizers with agroforestry and small scale water management. Multiple interventions are being conducted simultaneously on agriculture, public health, energy, education, water and sanitation, gender, and environmental restoration. Progressafter 1 year in the first village, Sauri in Western Kenya has been nothing but fantastic. Villagers feel theempowered with the first maize harvest that has tripled grain production, thus eliminating hunger, having built a clinic where they are treated with antiretrovirals drugs for HIV-AIDS, all villagesr sleeping under long lasting insecticide-treated bednets, and having planted about 5.5 million nitrogen fixing trees and shrubs.

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