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West blamed for slow MDGs progress

NAIROBI, October 22 – The government has accused developed countries of reneging on their commitment to finance the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which are expected to be achieved by 2015.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya said on Wednesday that the achievement of the goals would remain a pipe dream unless developed countries stepped up their Official Development Assistance (ODA) to reach the UN’s target of having 0.7 percent of their Gross National Income going to poor countries.

“The truth is that we must experience sustainable increase in ODA to Kenya and the developed countries must take a bold step to meet their part of the bargain in the pursuit of MDGs,” he emphasised while releasing the 2007 MDGs Status Report for Kenya.

If the donor countries delivered on the global ODA commitment, aid to developing countries would be $165 billion a year.

According to the report, although there has been an increase in ODA commitments, Kenya has experienced a general decline in the disbursement rate, which has led to a drop in the share of development expenditures financed by donors.

“This decline has been occasioned by delays in payments and conditionality on procurements,” the report revealed.

An MDGs Needs Assessment study undertaken between 2004 and 2005 to determine what it would take for a country to achieve the goals, showed that a total of Sh468 billion would be required annually to implement the objectives.

Mr Oparanya also decried the high debt service which takes a huge chunk of resources from national coffers and leaves insufficient resources to implement the goals. In 2002, 2003 and July 2006 to 2007, Kenya committed Sh29.3billion, Sh32.3billion and Sh18.3 billion respectively as external debt service.

“Significant progress is also needed to deal with debt sustainability and technology transfer to developing countries. Kenya still grapples with debt servicing which is substantially eating into the resources that would be addressing the goals,” he complained.

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As at December 2007, Kenya’s public debt stock stood at Sh844.9 billion which is equivalent to 41 percent of the GDP.

The Minister also highlighted the slow progress of developing an open, rule-based, predictable and non-discriminatory trading and financial system while market access also came under scrutiny with the Doha Round of trade negotiations coming under severe attack.

He added that the failure to conclude the talks constitute the largest implementation gap in the area of trade and by extension of the eighth MDG goal on the ‘development of global partnership for development.’

The report however lauded Kenya’s efforts to enhance local and external trade as indicated by the country’s active membership in regional and international trading arrangements.
Also present at the launch was Finish Ambassador Heil Sirve who added that the implementation of the MDGs was a joint effort that required the private, public and civil societies’ contribution.

She said the two governments are in the process of finalizing phase two of the MDGs program worth Sh662 million and runs from 2009 and 2012.

“It will focus of the support will be in mainstreaming, coordinating and accelerating Millennium Development Goals both at the national and sub-regional levels,” the envoy added.

Mrs Sirve also said her government had contributed Sh387 million between the 2005 and 2008.

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