Kofi Annan

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The curious case of the Millennium Villages: Arguing why we get better | 

How many Americans know and/or care about the “Greatest Promise Ever Made” — the Millennium Development Goals?

I haven’t seen a survey, but I suspect the numbers are low. That’s unfortunate because most economists and foreign policy experts say that reducing global poverty and improving people’s lives makes the world a better, safer, healthier and more prosperous place for all of us.

That’s what the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) aim to achieve by 2015. The MDGs represent the international communities’ basic yardstick for measuring whether things are getting better out there. Whether the MDGs represent the best way to measure things getting better is another issue. Continue reading

Not Davos: The World Economic Forum in Africa | 

World Economic Forum

Another World Economic Forum meeting is underway.

This one is not located at the Swiss ski resort town of Davos, features few celebrities like Bono and is garnering much less media attention. It’s the WEF on Africa, in Cape Town, South Africa, this year.

A few stories:

BBC: Kofi Annan warns that Africa is at risk of squandering current economic growth

Guardian: Botswana is a success story showing power of public-private partnerships

South Africa, Independent Online: Africa can use the world’s challenges to its benefit

South Africa, Business Day: Africa’s development is unbalanced

Bloomberg: Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic outlook ‘quite positive’

Video: The Global Fund | 

The United Nations is holding a meeting (yes, another one … that’s what they do) this week to ask governments and donors to advance the fight against three of the world’s biggest killers.

Here is a fairly compelling video that describes the progress achieved so far and advocates for more support of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria:

Kofi Annan: If we are all in the same boat, then a hole at one end of the boat puts us all at risk.

Michel Kazatchkine: When it comes to fighting an epidemic, everyone has to come together.

Bill Gates: Saving lives has a catalytic effect that allows the community to take care of itself.

Bono: Over 3,500 lives are saved every day … that’s 1.3 million people every year.

Carla Bruni-Sarkosy: There is still a lot of work that has to be done, but it is in reach.

Ban Ki-moon: If we ease up, these diseases will re-emerge. We either win this fight or we lose it. The success of the Global Fund is a test of global solidarity.

Squeamish About Biotech in Africa | 

Planting in Kenya

Flickr, World Bank

Planting in Kenya

Boosting agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa is critical to the fight against poverty and improving health on the continent.

The question is how.

Last week, the Gates Foundation came under criticism for significantly increasing its investments in Monsanto. Many took it as a clear sign the world’s biggest philanthropy is championing the use of genetically modified crops, since this is the company leading the world in the production of GM seeds and crops. Continue reading