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Nathan Andrews, Ernest Nene Khalema u.a. (Hrsg.): Africa´s Development Beyond 2015

Cover Nathan Andrews, Ernest Nene Khalema, N´Dri T. Assié-Lumumba (Hrsg.): Africa´s Development Beyond 2015. Springer (Berlin) 2015. 322 Seiten. ISBN 978-3-319-16165-5. 106,99 EUR.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Retrospect.
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This volume examines the impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Africa´s development post-2015. It assesses the current state of the MDGs in Africa by outlining the successes, gaps and failures of the state goals, including lessons learned. A unique feature of the book is the exposition on post-MDG´s agenda for Africa´s development. Chapters on poverty, south-south partnership, aid, gender, empowerment, health as well as governance and development explore what feasible alternative lie ahead for Africa beyond the expiry date of the MDGs.


  • Nathan Andrews is a PhD candidate in Political Science (International Relations and Comparative Development) at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
  • Nene Ernest Khalema is a senior research specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), a national research institute in South Africa.
  • N´Dri T. Assié-Lumumba is a Professor of African Diaspora, and Comparative/International Education at Cornell University at the African Studies Research Center.


In January 2014, about 100 participants arrived at the University of Alberta main campus to begin a 2-day retrospective look at the MDGs with a special focus on the African continent. Among the attendees were seasened academics from Canadian universities, NGO and civil society representatives, and emerging scholars both from the African continent and its new diasporas. The development of a forum to deliberate on Africa´s future was the vision of the University of Alberta´s African Students Association. The editors of the book have worked hard to capture the scolarly discurs which engaged African and Africanist student, University of Alberta scholars and visiting experts.

Outline and Selected Contents

Introduction: Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) in Retrospect in Africa

The onset of the independence in the 1950s and 1960s heralded a new desire for the promotion of socioeconomic development amoung the newly indepent states in Africa. The African populations and leadership engaged in the struggle for freedom had no intention to relinquish their aspirations for socioeconomic uplifting and social progress. They had ideas and resolve to develop the skills, strategies and means to achive their developmenr goals, instead of delegating their roles to others. Thus African scholars and political leaders envisioned paths of development that challenged the Western conception of one inevitable and unilinear modernization model to be applied universally. However, in post-colonial Africa, development strategies and prescriptions for achieving them have remained a territory traversed predominantly by non-African actors and interests, mainly in a neocolonial framework. Innumerable development initiatives have been conceived, concaved, and implemented for many years by Northern interests, exposing how these negligible remedies have fuelled dependency. In this context, knowledge about Africa´s development is framed from particular standpoints pronouncing a pessimistic tone marked with a quest for recycled and repackaged development prescriptions. In advancing this quest a number of development strategies have re-emerged including a globally embraced notion of advancing the millennium development goals (MDGs). The MDGs were adopted by a numer of heads of states in 2000 to address the world´s most staggering development issues. Meeting the goals, or even substantial progress towards meeting them, promises to priduce a healthier, more economically sound world. The normative consensus arrived at in 2000 attracted the attention and support of many organizations and individuals interested in international development.

The Millennium declaration depicts the eight MDGs as the world`s time-bound targets for addressing extreme poverty, hunger, disease, child mortality and maternal health and for promoting gender equality, education, global partnership and environmental sustainability. The most ambitous goal, perhaps, is that of reducing the 1990 levels of poverty by half (for example: reducing the 30% of people living under $1 per day to 15%). By signing the Millennium declaration, leaders of the world collectively promised a better life to the world´s most vulnerable people. Recent reports by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund assert that although progress has been made globally in achieving the MDGs, many developing countries, particularly in Africa remain off track to meeting them by 2015. This is particularly true in large parts of Africa where some states are fragile or emerging from conflict. As we are fast approaching the 2015 MDGs deadline, and given the negative effects of the recent gobal economic crises and the reluctance of some international donors to step up their efforts in the current economic climate, it has become clear the the MDGs will not be reached in most sub-Saharan African states.

The 19 chapters of this volume address fundamental aspects of the continent´s prospects of achieving the MDGs. The book is divided in five parts.

Part 1: Empowerment and marginalization

  1. Patricia Serwaa Afrifa: Are we able to lift the downtrodden? The MDGs and orphans and vulnerable children in Ghana
  2. Clement Longondjo: Urbanization and poverty in Khishasa: Thinking beyond 2015 Millennium Development Goals
  3. Thayo O. George et al: Women´s access to land and economic empowerment in selected Nigerian communities
  4. Steven Lawrence Gordon: Trusting the coalface: Public trust in South African local government and the Millennium Development Goals

Part 2: Education and access

  1. N´Dri T. Assié-Lumumba: Millenium Development in Retrospect: Higher education and the gender factor in Africa´s Development beyond 2015
  2. Serena Koissabe: Beyond Millennium Development Goals: Funding quality education through building local capacity: A sample from Tanzania

Part 3: Sociopolitical implications of gender vulnerabilities

  1. Stephen M. Magu: African gender development gap: Rethinking strategies to achieve MDGs
  2. Yordanos Tesfamariam: Adressing poverty and hunger through gender equality: A case study of Eritrea

Part 4: Population health and alternatives to social care

  1. Nene Ernest Khalema: (Ad)dressing sexual reproductive health issues and its determinants in Kwa-Zulu-Natal and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa: Evidence from a situational analysis of Millennium Development Goals Indicators
  2. Mary Ssonko Nabacwa et al.: Culture, traditions and maternal health: A community approch towards improved maternal health in the Northern Uganda District of Gulu, Moroto and Kotido
  3. Furzana Timol: Dimension of childhood development within the Millennium Developmet Goals: Zhe role of water-related characteristics in reducing the burden of childhood diseases in South Africa
  4. Catherine Ndinda et al.: Civil society activism for the prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases in South Africa: Implications for policy and practice

Part 5: Post MDGs partnerships, alternatives and possibilities

  1. Daouda Cissé: Developing global partnership for devekopment: Chinese investments in Africa and impacts on sustainable development
  2. Evelyn Namakula Mayanja: Strengthening democratic political leadership and governance for Africa´s development: Beyond 2015: The case of Uganda
  3. Cristian Talesco: Aid effectiveness and development policies in Botswana: A successful story
  4. Stephen M. Magu: African Women´s political participation: Strategies für positively impacting sustainable socio-economic development
  5. Patrick Oluwole Ojo: From rhetoric to reality: Bridging the gap between aspiration for democracy and governance performance in Nigeria and South Africa
  6. Julie Drolet: Social protection: An alternative or not for Africa´s post-2015 development agenda alternative?

Conclusions: Africa beyond 2015-MDG prospects, its discontents and implications

Despite some pessimistic views about Africa and its advancement, the continent devised solutions that have contributed to significant improvements over the last century since colonialism. As reports of Africa´s „hopeful“ prospects dispensed in terms of economic growth, a robust advancement in macroeconomic were felt even as the global economy experienced an economic meltdown. Furthermore, the MDGs-based African infused a new optimism and conviction within the continent that a bright future lies ahead for the African continent and that Africans will be the crafters of such a future. Reports from a variety of sources including several chapters in this volume have reported that some African countries are on track to achive some MDGs. For instance, even though sub-Saharan Africa countries have made some progress towards meeting some MDGs, poverty remains a wirdespread problem. The sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world that has seen the number of people living in extreme poverty rise steadily from 290 million in 1990 to 414 million in 2010, accounting for more than a third of those worldwide who are destitute. Across the sub-Saharan African region,almost half the population lives on less than $1.25 a day. While many countries in the region have made progress (i.e. Mozambique, Burkina Faso, and Namibia) historical comparisons suggest that the MDGs were overly ambitious, given the very low levels these countries started at. Furthermore, poor governance seems to be the order of the day for some African states whereby development and growth is hampered by corruption and strategies of growth and prosperity are not replicated and/or expanded to serve more people in more countries.

Having said this, the situation on the continent is not all gloom and doom; in fact, recent joint reports by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund suggest that although slow progress has been made globally in achieving the MDGs, many developing countries, particularly in Africa remain on track to adresing some goals by 2015. Thus, there has been important progress across all goals, with some targets already have been met, well ahead of the 2015 deadline. For example, steady progress has been made in expanding access to primary education in the region. In most African countries, women are increasingly gaining more political power in the service sector particularly in government institutions. Countries such as Rwanda and South Africa have made strides in ensuring participation of women in political institutions by increasing the proportion of seats held in single or lower houses for women. For example, Rwanda claimed the world`s highest ratio of women in parliament in 2003 and in Rwanda women hold 64% of the country`s legislative seats. In Senegal, Seychellen and South Africa, women hold more than 40% of parliamentary seats, while in Mozambique, Angola, Tanzania and Uganda over 35% of seats are occupied by women.

In summary, there is a possibility that some African countries will achieve a fair number of the MDGs to some extent just before 2015. The post 2015 agenda looks promising. Nevertheless, it failed to properly include the voices of marginalized and indegenous populations even though it was promised „that the agenda would be the product of a participatory, inclusive and bottum-up process“. Where progress is being made, improvements are often not evenly shared throughout the continent. As chapters in this volume have emphazised, the MDG targets must be interpreted applicable to each individual country.


In September 2015 the final report for the United Nations Millennium Goals will be presented. The MDGs were adopted by most member states of the UN in 2000 to address the world´s most staggering development issues. While Germany is currently confronted with the task to give asyl to more than 500.000 refugees in 2015, there is only little public awareness in regard to the MDGs. This issue appears very seldom in the media and in public political debates.

The book shows clearly, that Africa is not a country; it is a continent of 50 plus countries at different stages of development and as such, multiple approaches and strategies are necessary to advance the development goals in each country.

Target Groups

The volume is aimed at a wide audience including students, academics, and practitioners in the field of African developments. Both those involved in the discussion of the MDGs as well as those seeking to learn more about them will find in this volume a comfortable level ground. It represents not only an important contribution to the MDG debate but also a strategic ressource as we approach „the year of reckoning“ in 2015.


This book examines the impact of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Africa´s development post-2015. The authors present reports for the following African coutries: Botswana, Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. It focuses among others on poverty and hunger, orphans and vulnerable children, maternal health, edications, aid, gender issues, empowerment and governance and development, and look in the future of the post-2015 phase of the MDGs.

Rezension von
Prof. Dr. Uwe Helmert

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Uwe Helmert. Rezension vom 30.09.2015 zu: Nathan Andrews, Ernest Nene Khalema, N´Dri T. Assié-Lumumba (Hrsg.): Africa´s Development Beyond 2015. Springer (Berlin) 2015. ISBN 978-3-319-16165-5. In: socialnet Rezensionen, ISSN 2190-9245,, Datum des Zugriffs 20.10.2021.

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