Viewpoint: Investing in Health, Investing in Africa
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Africa faces two key challenges to achieve its full potential. The remarkable economic progress of the last 15 years must be sustained. And, this progress must be broadened to include the many millions of people who have yet to benefit from the continent’s rising prosperity.
The good news is that we have learned a great deal over the past decade about what works. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) showed how ambitious health and development objectives are effective provided they include measurable and time-bound targets to tackle poverty, hunger and disease.
Proven, cost-effective interventions such as vaccines, better seeds for farmers, voluntary family planning services, and insecticide-treated bed nets are reducing child mortality, improving health and expanding opportunities to create a better life.
We have seen the impact of innovative global partnerships such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria. They have proved what can be achieved when donor and developing countries, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector are all pulling from the same end of the rope.
But past success is no guarantee of future progress. Africa has, at times, moved forward only for progress to founder or be reversed. So the task, as regional and global leaders from government, civil society, and the private sector meet for the 2015 World Economic Forum on Africa, is to make sure we build on existing momentum.
It will require African leaders to resist the temptation to spread efforts too thinly. There will be twice as many Sustainable Development Goals as there are MDGs. So, it will be vital to prioritize the targets which promise the greatest impact, and create strong in-country implementation plans backed by adequate domestic financing.