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Faculty Research Working Paper Series
Stephen Peterson
Lecturer in Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government
Rethinking the Millennium Development Goals for Africa
Peterson, Stephen. "Rethinking the Millennium Development Goals for Africa." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP10-046, November 2010.
Abstract
The global economy and especially its poorest members, face a perfect storm. The crisis has been created by a Global LIE: leverage that is unfathomable, institutions that are discredited, and, experts who are uncertain about the uncertainty. The poorest countries have been the hardest hit by the crisis, and their recovery may be years away. Under these circumstances, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are not a best bet development strategy for Africa. As a financing decision, developed countries have never adequately resourced the MDGs and are unlikely to do so in future as they face more pressing priorities: entitlements, terror, climate, stimulus, and unwinding. As an investment decision, the MDGs focus on social services, not infrastructure, which creates fiscal stress on the budget. The failure of the MDG to address revenue mobilization means that this strategy is fiscally unsustainable. A better strategy for foreign aid are DIGs (Decade Infrastructure Goals) that focus on the investment in growth promoting infrastructure (revenue, roads, power, and agriculture) rather than social services.
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