African Review of Economics and Finance

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Agenda 2030 in sub-Saharan Africa: What the Millennium Development Goals’ narrative teaches about poverty eradication

Isaac Abotebuno Akolgo


More than a year after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) deadline, experts and social commentators are divided on the outcome of the goals on poverty reduction. The UN Secretariat and its agencies, while  acknowledging that the business of ending poverty is ‘unfinished,’ described the goals as globally successful notably for mobilising the world toward a global agenda; a claim sharply dismissed by many economists. Critics point to the persistent  high levels of poverty in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), and argue that the fall in global poverty is largely due to the  significant reduction of poverty in China, India and East Asia. The MDGs’ mixed success has been attributed to  conceptual, methodological and  implementation incoherence. These challenges, some of which are inherent in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), partly account for the high rate of poverty in SSA notwithstanding the MDGs’ efforts. Meeting the SDGs target of ending poverty in SSA by 2030 will require a deeper understanding of the methodological and practical challenges that  characterised the MDGs.

Keywords: Poverty eradication; Africa; Inequality; Millennium Development Goals; Sustainable Development Goals.

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