Namibia, Others To Copy Nigeria MDGs Model, As UK Lauds Achievements

By Israel Goodway

The efforts of Nigeria towards the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals have again been commended at the global stage, with the government of the Republic of Namibia indicating interest to adopt the country's best practices.

The commendation over the significant progress the country has made in the last two years in the implementation of the MDGs came from Ambassador Martin Shearman of the United Kingdom and the deputy minister of the Republic of Namibia, Hon. Stanley Simataa, while reviewing the Nigeria's national voluntary presentation by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, Dr. Precious Gbeneol at the on-going United Nation Economic and Social Council high-level segment in Geneva, Switzerland, which was streamed live on the UN Web TV.

According to Hon. Stanley Simataa, the Nigerian MDGs best practices which have led to the attainment of some of the goals ahead of the 2015 deadline are worthy of emulation. 'Equally, we are convinced that the areas of their (Nigeria) enviable successes could be amplified and replicated elsewhere, most particularly in Namibia where we are forever gracious for the magnanimity of the Nigerian state and the people who had long stood with us in many hours of need and glory.'

Simataa, who noted that Nigeria intervention efforts are in correlation with the Africa Agenda, added that 'of immense interest to Namibia and indeed the greater sub-African region are the successes that Nigeria has had in the areas of child and maternal mortality or broadly the health MDGs as referred to in the UN discourse.

This is anchored in the fact that while Nigeria had been able to significantly reduce infant and maternal mortality rate from 100 to 61 per 100, 000 live births, and from 1, 000 death per 100, 000 lives to 350 death per 100, 000 lives respectively for the period between 1990 and 2012, Namibia, like many of her neighbours have actually seen a reverse and given current projections, in spite of concerted multi-sectoral efforts, is endeavouring to barely meet the target.'

Simataa took note that as a tool for acceleration of the MDGs achievement, the federal government of Nigeria has mainstreamed the MDGs agenda into national policy intervention and strategy as embedded into the nation's Vision 2020.

The Namibian Representative added: 'On the financing component, Namibia commends Nigeria for the innovative strategy they had devised for purpose of implementing their targeted inventions for socio-economic development and improve service delivery. Among these are the Conditional Grant Scheme, Conditional Cash Programme and many others'.

According to the representative of the UK government at the council meeting, Ambassador Martin Shearman, 'we commend the progress that Nigeria is making. The progress that Dr, Gbeneol reported on tackling hunger and achieving gender parity in primary and secondary school enrolment, for example, are major steps forward.'

Ambassador Shearman added that the recent UNCTAD report on investment and trade for development illustrates Nigeria's economic dynamism. He said that in 2012 it was again the top destination in Africa for foreign direct investment, attracting over $7 billion in inward investment. 'As Nigeria's national report on progress towards the MDGs notes, its economy grew at an annual rate of 6.8 per cent between 2012 and 2013', he stated.

While noting the extreme poverty that still exists in the country in spite of the progress made so far in the MDGs, the UK said that there are gaps that still need to be filled.

He urged the federal government to build on its efforts by focusing on poverty reduction, technological innovation, good policy on environment and strong political will at all levels of governance.