Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Critical Assessment of the Millennium Development Project

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Critical Assessment of the Millennium Development Project

Article excerpt

Abstract: At the United Nations Millennium Summit, 191 member states gathered to set eight millennium development goals for the world's poor countries. The eight goals were used as a yardstick to measure development progress. However, many developing countries, particularly the African countries have insufficient resources to provide the necessary infrastructure and services to achieve these Millennium Development Goals. The paper aims to critically assess the Millennium Development Project by analysing the key documents. It is critically important to devote attention to the potential impacts of development on vulnerable segments of the human population. The field of research is Development Studies (Sociology). The paper concludes that the Millennium Development Goals are unlikely to bring positive development in poor countries particularly in Africa. Therefore the whole project needs to be reviewed.

Keywords: development; social; economic; poverty eradication; poor.

1. Introduction

Millions of people around the globe live in absolute poverty. Whether there is political will to solve it is another matter. Some of the people have been neglected to an extent that nobody is giving them a chance to improve their lives. In view of this the Millennium Development Goals (MDG's) was designed to eradicate poverty in poor states. However there is overwhelming evidence that developing countries including South Africa are not on track in achieving the Millennium Developing Goals (MDGs) of halving poverty by 2015. Although good in paper but they are not good in practice. However the issue of lack of resource have been the main obstacle for poor nations to achieve these MDG's. I argue that the MDG's are complementary to the Structural Adjustment policies which were introduced in the 1980's and "these policies and the IMF's role in implementing them have been criticized by developing country governments and development organizations as having worsened the situation of poor and lower-income people, as well as contributing to the degradation of the natural environment" (Naiman and Watkins, 1999, p. 2). An attempt will be made below to show why I believe that the MDG's are complementary to the Structural Adjustment Policies. In the answering the question the paper will also briefly explain what the Millennium Development Goals are and Structural Adjustment Policies (SAP's)1 as they will be the basis of this paper. The paper will only focus on the African continent in general, specifically use Zambia case study to show if these goals are achievable or not. These are the main topics that will be covered are: Structural adjustments, Millennium development goals, Zambia case study, are developing countries failing to meet the MDG targets, the real agenda behind MDG's and conclusion. The present paper relies primarily upon data from international bodies, academics etc. In-depth document analysis was used to reach the goal of my investigation.

2. Structural Adjustment Program

A structural adjustment program (SAP's) is a plan employed by the Bretton Woods Institutions: the International Monetary fund (IMF)2 and the World Bank (WB)3 in poor countries to try to get their economies to be more productive. The main aim of the structural adjustment program is to assist the borrowing countries to pay offtheir debts and have a "growing economy that will sustain them into the future". Structural adjustment programs were also designed by the IMF World Bank as a condition for further loans. Today the IMF and the World Bank dictate terms on economic policies in numerous countries. The failure of poor nations to repay their debt has forced them to rely heavily on new loans. The IMF has the power to verify whether countries are credit worthy or not. In order for a country to receive loan it needs to accept the stipulated conditions of the structural adjustment (Jauch,1999, p.1-2).

SAP's have 4 aims according to which they are designed. …

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