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South Africa and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Quick Fact

South Africa has progressed in reducing extreme income poverty, due to a progressive, pro-poor tax system which provides a basic social protection, while employment targets have remained a challenge.

In the year 2000 the South African government, along with other members of the United Nations (UN), committed to a national and global plan of action to reduce poverty and ensure the development of its people. The sixth and final Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Country Report for 2015 provides an overview of the progress South Africa has made towards achieving the eight MDGs. In addition, it provides an historical account of South Africa’s development in numbers. The MDGs are:

  1. To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. To promote universal primary education
  3. To promote gender equality and empower women
  4. To reduce child mortality
  5. To improve maternal health
  6. To combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
  7. To ensure environmental sustainability
  8. To develop a global partnership for the development.

This report reflects the intense national effort, from a range of institutions, organisations and individuals, to improve the lives of all South Africans; particularly the poor and marginalised. A great many people have contributed to this report through their participation in various consultative fora across the country, often at great expense and sacrifice. What started 15 years ago certainly does not end here, and reporting on development issues will continue through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is therefore critical that South Africa’s unfinished MDG business, as well as emerging developmental issues, be appropriately integrated within the SDGs in a manner that places the spotlight on them, while providing adequate direction and impetus for effective planning, development of appropriate policies and budgets, and the construction of appropriate national monitoring and reporting systems.

Primary school completion rate

Maternal mortality ratios by year of death: 2002-2013 and the 2015 MDG target

Household access to services stabilised

Household access to services stabilised

The General Household Survey (GHS) 2018 released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) found that substantial progress has been made in service delivery over the years. While progress has been uneven across the country, a quick glance at service delivery statistics suggests that household access to these services have stabilised over the last few years.   read more »



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