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Kenya likely to miss MDGs targets

10 May 2013, 09:23

Nairobi - The World Bank on Wednesday said that Kenya is not on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 as extreme poverty has not been reduced sufficiently despite the dramatic improvements.

"Kenya is likely to miss the targets of all the MDGs as policies that have been put in place have not been implemented well," World Bank Senior Economist Vandana Chandra said during the launch of the 10th edition of the Global Monitoring Report 2013, which reports on the progress towards attainment of MDGs.

The report, which was jointly authored by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, showed that gender parity and child mortality rates in Kenya will not be achieved before 2020.

"This does not mean there is not hope for Kenya because with acceleration of efforts, the goals can be achieved," he said.

Chandra told the media in Nairobi that a lot of poor people still have no access to well-paying jobs that will lift them past the threshold of 1.25 U.S. dollar pay day.

Chandra added that the government has to enhance measures that will attract more private sector investment especially into manufacturing and services sector.

"However, the poor will not get access to decent jobs if they lack skills," she said. The senior economist said that despite Kenya's free primary education policy, the completion rates are still low.

According to the Chandra, Kenya will also not meet the three health MDGs due to insufficient health facilities.

The World Bank said that as of 2013, the Sub-Saharan African region has however achieved more than 40 percent of the progress required to reach the targets regarding access to safe water, gender parity, child mortality as well as maternal mortality.

World Bank Sustainable Development Department Sector Leader Nathan Belete said that despite Kenya's thriving energy and horticultural sectors, progress is lacking in the MDGs attainment.

"The country should take advantage of urban agglomeration of services in order to improve the life of poor residents," he said.

He also said that sub Saharan Africa as a region will miss all nine MDGS by a significant margin, adding the MDGs relating to extreme poverty and access to sanitation are lagging the most.

According to the report, like other emerging economies, Kenya is experiencing a major demographic transition and also urbanizing rapidly.

World Bank Country Director for Kenya Diarietou Gaye said Kenya's population is growing each year by 1 million people, who are living longer due to improvements in health, are also better educated and mostly choose to live in cities.

"By 2030, we estimate that Kenya will have a population of 63 million people. Half of these people will be living in the cities, with the Nairobi metropolitan area hosting more than a quarter of these urban dwellers," Gaye said.

The country director added that this urbanization will induce demand for goods and services that are produced in rural areas.

"We hope this will help uplift rural families out of poverty due to increased incomes," she said.

- Xinhua


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