Original Research

The effectiveness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) as global paradigm shift for poverty eradication in sub-Saharan Africa

Herman van der Elst
The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa | Vol 8, No 1 | a10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/td.v8i1.10 | © 2012 Herman van der Elst | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 February 2016 | Published: 31 July 2012

About the author(s)

Herman van der Elst, Politicak Science in the School of Basic Sciences, North-West University’s Vaal Campus, South Africa

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Despite isolated progress there seems to be no clear-cut guideline or solution to the collective eradication of extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. In an attempt to overcome the above reality, the objective of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is short term poverty relief to the poorest of the poor by 2015. This is to be achieved through the realisation of eight pro-poor objectives. Since 2000 there has been notable progress. Developmental organisations such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Freedom House Index project that global poverty will have been reduced to below fifteen per cent by 2015. The MDGs can, however, currently only be perceived as partially effective because poverty relief remains restricted to mainly Latin America and South and South East Asia. This partial success is substantiated by the reality that the majority of states in sub-Saharan Africa remains subjected to a cycle of extreme poverty, which seems impossible to overcome. There is consensus amongst many researchers that none of the MDGs will be achieved in this region by 2015.

This article aims to critically analyse the nature, objectives and progress of the MDGs as a global developmental paradigm shift. In order to explore future trends and identify potential solutions, an emphasis is, however, placed on the possible reasons for the slow progress of the MDGs, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa.

Keywords: Global paradigm shift, new conditionality, extreme poverty, poverty eradication, sub-Saharan Africa, foreign aid, deprivation hypothesis, weak governance, free-market approach and the poverty trap

Disciplines: International relations, law, political economy, politics, environmental studies, water studies, communication studies, public management and governance, education, sociology, anthropology and history. 


Global paradigm shift; new conditionality; extreme poverty; poverty eradication; sub-Saharan Africa; foreign aid; deprivation hypothesis; weak governance; free-market approach and the poverty trap


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