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    Small steps can make a big difference. Achieving millennium goals requires "practical investments."

    Africa Renewal. 2005 Jan; 18(4):[3] p..

    The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include halving world poverty and slashing child mortality by two-thirds, are as challenging as they are ambitious, Mr. Sachs said at UN headquarters in New York in late September, in briefings on the work of the Millennium Project, which he directs. But meeting those goals, said Mr. Sachs, can be as simple as distributing a $1.50 mosquito net or providing a family farmer with a sack of fertilizer. "These are not metaphysical problems. These are not grand cultural problems.... These are practical problems, and they don't cost very much money." Mr. Sachs asserted that while substantial progress has been made in some regions of the world, "Africa on the whole has not achieved progress and has experienced significant regress in many areas." The continent is the epicentre of global poverty, he continued. World leaders are slated to review progress towards the goals in September 2005. The reasons for Africa's halting progress are numerous, he said, including poor soils, the effects of climate change and shortages of basic transportation and communications. But these problems have been worsened by the donor community's insistence on market mechanisms, inadequate and poorly targeted aid and a tendency to blame Africa. The continent's problems "cannot be folded under the rubric that poor Africa just doesn't govern itself properly," Mr. Sachs observed. "Blaming the poor will not solve the problem. Nor is it an accurate, analytical picture" of the obstacles to Africa's development. (excerpt)
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