October 9 2014

Africa Health, Human & Social Development Information Service (Afri-Dev.Info) Media / Public Statement on:

Africa’s Governance Preparedness for New Global Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals; Implementation of ICPD Beyond 2014 Review; & The Evolving AU Africa 2063 Development Agenda – Coming up at the January 2015 Summit.

In the Aftermath of the recent UN General Assembly Debates on Sustainable Development – Afri-Dev Publishes 3 Innovative Governance Scorecards on:

Speaking to the 3 Scorecards Rotimi Sankore Editor of Afri-Dev.Info stated:

“When the soon to end MDG’s were initiated in 2000 – African governments and citizens did not realise how far behind we were till the first 5 year review. However, with the Post 2015 Development Goals, and the AU 2063 Agenda – we have the possibility of informed benchmarking right from the start.

Unfortunately the evidence today demonstrates that many African governments are yet to start warming up, while other regions are already on the starting blocks ready to commence the race.

“Three of the most important factors determining the success of Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the new AU Africa 2063 Agenda will be improved governance; evidence, data and population based planning and investment; and gender equality – yet most African governments seem not to be prepared on all three counts.”

Sankore underlined that:

“Comprehensive civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) systems including a register of all births; all deaths, and causes of death, is one of the most important tools of governance at local government, national, and regional levels – yet as many as 31 African countries register only between 3% and 75% of Births, and only 5 countries are considered to have reasonable progress on causes of death registration.

The bigger the country the more crucial civil registration and vital statistics – yet Nigeria as Africa’s most populous country only manages to register 42% of births.”

On the role of Literacy in Governance Sankore added:

“In modern society, literacy is one of the most crucial factors impacting on governance capacity and governance reach of states – making basic education arguably the most important commitment of government to citizens because Governance outreach to illiterate citizens is more difficult and in-efficient. Yet in as many as 33 African Countries only between 25% & 74% of citizens are literate – reflecting inadequate investment in education.

Giving the example of the on going Ebola Outbreak Sankore elaborated that:

“The fact that Guinea (at 25% literacy) has the lowest known literacy rate in Africa was a factor in the sad physical attacks and killings of Ebola response and education teams by community members in rural areas.

Literacy has also have played a role in initial Ebola denial in Sierra Leone (with 43% literacy) and Liberia (also 43% literacy), including attacks on Ebola containment facilities in communities  – especially one instance where an attack was aimed at ‘freeing’ Ebola detainees to release them back into the community.

“Conversely although average Literacy in Nigeria is a low 51% – the fact that Ebola was introduced through Lagos, the state with one of the highest literacy rates in the country played an important role in helping contain the outbreak”

Elaborating on the need for improved population based data for evidence based planning and investment Sankore underlined that:

“Improved governance and accountability are the primary means of achieving the Post 2015 and AU Africa 2063 goals – but both are impossible without improved and timely population data for evidence based planning.

Africa is currently at the cross roads of reaping a demographic dividend of facing a demographic disaster as governments are failing to prepare for populating challenges.

In just 15 years by 2030 when the next Sustainable Development Goals will be ending: Nigeria’s population is projected to grow by 92.9 million – adding roughly the current population of Ethiopia, Africa’s 2nd most populous country; more than the current population of Germany; or almost the same population as the Philippines.

Ethiopia’s population is projected to grow by 38.8 million – adding roughly the same as the current population of Algeria, Africa’s 8th most populous country, or more than then the entire population of Iraq.

Egypt’s population is projected to grow by 32.5 million – adding roughly the same as the current population of Morocco, Africa’s 11th most populous country – or more than the population of Afghanistan.

D.R Congo’s population is projected to grow by 49.2 million – adding roughly the same as the current population of Tanzania, Africa’s 6th most populous country – or more than the population of Colombia.

Tanzania’s population is projected to grow by 31.7 million – adding roughly the same as the current population of Cote D’Ivoire, Africa’s 17th most populous country – or almost the same population as Canada.

Some countries like Niger with highest total fertility 7.6 children per woman and highest underage / child marriage of 75% will even double in population – from 17.1 million to 33.8 million – adding 16.7 million – roughly the same population as Netherlands, or more than Cambodia.

This is the time for African governments to empower women, and moderate near out of control population growth through promoting family planning; and simultaneously implement large scale planning and investments for thousands of schools, and hospitals; millions of teachers and health workers; housing, roads; investment for food and nutrition security; water supply; sanitation; investment in youth development, technology and industrialisation for jobs.”

Sankore Emphasised that Many African Governments Based on Patriarchy are trying to side step Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women, and Gender Equality.

“There is no clear recognition or acceptance that that fully implementing African and global frameworks on family planning, sexual and reproductive health and reducing total fertility can also help avert a potential demographic disaster – because governments based on patriarchy are trying to side step universal access to sexual and reproductive health for women, and gender equality.

The concept of trapping women in a cycle of having unending numbers of children, will also trap Africa in a cycle of poverty and under development.

Total fertility per woman across Africa is 5.0 – compared to 2.1 in America’s; 1.7 in Europe; 1.8 in Western Pacific; 2.4 in S.E Asia – and 38 African Countries have high total fertility rate of between 4.0 and 7.6 per woman.

Africa’s high total fertility is in part driven by Underage and Child ‘Marriage’ of between 25% and 75% in 32 countries which massively violates the reproductive and sexual health rights of millions of girl children by exposing them to institutionalised underage sex, premature pregnancies, and higher incidence of maternal mortality and morbidity.

High Underage and Child ‘Marriage’ across Africa has also resulted in high Adolescent pregnancy of 114 per 1,000  – compared to 65 in America’s; 23 in Europe; 48 in S.E Asia – and has contributed to catastrophic lifetime risk of maternal deaths of 1 in 39. By Comparison – Women more developed countries have only a 1 in 3800 lifetime risk of dying of maternal causes.

The highest maternal death risk is in Chad at 1 in 15; Somalia 1 in 16; Niger 1 in 23; S/Leone 1 in 23; Liberia 1 in 24; Guinea Bissau 1 in 25; Mali 1 in 28; Nigeria 1 in 29; DR Congo & Guinea 1 in 30.

Alongside all these, Africa still has the highest numbers and percentages of citizens without access to clean water, sanitation and in a state of hunger – not to mention infectious diseases like HIV, TB and Malaria, or millions affected by Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Unless these governance challenges are addressed, Africa faces a very difficult time over the next few decades including serious challenges to peace and security which can only be avoided if governments start to take corrective action now ahead of the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, and New AU Africa 2063 Agenda.

Statement Ends

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