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The Millennium Development Goals: A New EU-Africa Strategic Partnership?

Olufemi Babarinde, Joint paper with Stephen Wright

Since world leaders adopted the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, many poor countries around the world have struggled to drastically reduce poverty and deprivation as required by the 2015 deadline, especially in view of recent and on-going challenging global economic conditions. This is particularly true for many countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), as they have had to deal with rising food prices, soaring cost of energy, economic slowdown, financial crisis, and other global economic challenges. Conceived as a global partnership, achieving the MDGs was premised on the assumption that rich countries would provide funding via economic assistance, fair trade, debt relief, etc., in support of poor countries' efforts to invest more in capacity building and good governance. The paper will focus on EU-Africa partnership in the broad context of utilizing the relationship to help SSA countries achieve the MDGs. The paper will begin by addressing the general background to the MDGs within the UN, and the level of EU commitment from the onset. It will then shift to an examination of the level of progress (or lack thereof) that African states have made on the MDGs. The discourse will then pivot to how the EU has found it necessary to have this EU-Africa dialogue, and what the plans are to get Africa up to speed on the MDGs. To that end, the paper will discuss the mechanisms and the agencies involved, as well as the finances, in the hopes of achieving the MDGs. Next, the paper will employ various theories (Underdevelopment, Neo-liberalism, etc.) to explain why this approach might or might not be successful.



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