Critique of the MDGs

For the co-sponsored CGD-Brookings seminar How the Millennium Development Goals Are Unfair to Africa, Professor William Easterly presented a controversial analysis suggesting that most African countries' predicted "failure" to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 will result more from the design of the Goals than from unique deficiencies in Africa's development process. Those involved in the MDG campaign routinely state that "Africa will miss all the MDGs." While Africa will miss MDGs, Easterly argues that it will result primarily from a series of arbitrary numerical choices built into the Goals in such a way that "success" was less likely in Africa than in other regions from the beginning. The statement that "Africa will miss all the MDGs" thus paints an unfairly bleak portrait of Africa.

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