October 1, 2014
Performance on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has varied by country and region; some regions are closer to meeting the targets, while others such as Africa are not as close. But Africa has accelerated progress on the MDGs despite unfavourable initial conditions, being the region with the lowest starting point. Thirty-four out of 54 countries that are classified as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are in the African region, representing a disproportionate share of low-income countries (LICs). It is therefore inappropriate to assess the continent's performance on the same basis as the more advanced regions; when assessments take into account the initial conditions of the continent, it emerges that the pace of progress on the MDGs in Africa has accelerated since 2003. Indeed, an assessment of performance based on effort reveals that eight of the top ten best performers (i.e. those experiencing the most rapid acceleration) are in Southern, East, Central and West Africa. Burkina Faso ranked the highest in MDG acceleration. Furthermore, progress was more rapid in LDCs than in non-LDCs.