The 2011 UN Report on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) released last week ranked Rwanda among the countries that have made rapid progress in ensuring the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Launching the report, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged that though significant strides were made, achieving all MDGs by 2015 remains a big challenge as the world’s poorest nations are left behind.
The report, launched in Geneva, indicates that Rwanda mostly progressed on universal primary education and reduction of maternal deaths.
Ban was quoted as saying that achieving the MDGs required equitable and inclusive economic growth to benefit everyone, especially the poor and the marginalised.
“Between now and 2015, world leaders must make sure the pledges they make are honoured and show not only that they care, but also that they have the courage and conviction to act,” he noted.
According to the report, the Sub-Sahara region leads the world in steadily reducing new HIV infections in addition to treating the disease.
“Already the MDGs have helped lift millions of people out of poverty, save countless children’s lives and ensure that they attend school,” he said.
“They have reduced maternal deaths, expanded opportunities for women, increased access to clean water, and freed many people from deadly and debilitating diseases.”
Other countries mentioned alongside Rwanda especially in the achievement of universal primary education include Burundi, Togo, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Mozambique, Niger and Sao Tome and Principe.
The report further says that between 2000 and 2009, sub-Saharan Africa had the largest decrease in malaria deaths.
Since 2000, Rwanda, Botswana, Cape Verde, Eritrea, Madagascar, Namibia, Sao Tome and Principe, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia reduced the number of confirmed malaria cases and deaths by more than 50 per cent.
It notes that between 2008 and 2010, 290 million insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria were distributed in the region, enough to cover 76 percent of the 765 million people at risk.
The report also indicates that Rwanda still leads the world in the highest level of women participation in parliament presently set at 56.3 percent while Sweden comes second with 45.0 percent as South Africa has 44.5 percent with Cuba scoring 43.2 percent.
The report also indicates that the number of people in the region with access to safe drinking water increased from 252 million to 492 million between 1990 and 2008, growing from 49 to 60 per cent of the population.
The MDGs were first agreed at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000 to reduce extreme poverty and hunger, improve health and education, empower women and ensure environmental sustainability by 2015.