‘MDGs can be achieved through socio-economic transformation’


Chennai : The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing poverty, improving education, maternal health, gender equality and combating child mortality laid down by the United Nations can be achieved through socio-economic transformation through expansion of industry, services and modernising agriculture, according to Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

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“MDGs can simply remain phrases if appropriate measures and strategies are not devised to ensure meaningful progress towards realisation,” he said at the 16th edition of Partnership Summit held here Sunday by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Museveni’s speech was read out by Kirunda Kivejinja, third deputy prime minister and minister of internal affairs of Uganda, at the closing plenary session.

According to Museveni, the key to attain the MDGs in countries like Uganda is to ensure that each person fully participates in production process and access essential political, social and economic resources.

“In Uganda, the MDGs have been fully integrated into our development targets, elaborated in the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP), which has now given way to a five-year National Development Plan,” he said.

Though the global economic crisis has affected the progress towards achieving the MDGs, the impact in Uganda is limited owing to the actions of the government and the fast growing regional trade within the Nile Basin countries, he said.

He said partnerships between nations should be symbiotic and not parasitic which would derail the development of nations.

Thanks to the private sector-led economic development, there is an increasing demand for various industrial inputs and Africa is now becoming the preferred investment destination for most developed and emerging economies, the president of the African nation said.

Speaking at the session, Indian Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan said India has been fortunate to remain relatively unscathed from the worst consequences of the global recession but the country should remain cautious in its economic management.

He said during the current year, there is a revival of trade as exports are recovering into a positive territory. India’s cargo handling in major ports was up 5.1 percent in April-December, 2009 as against the same period a year ago.

He said the focus in the Eleventh Five Year Plan for the port sector has been to develop ports and related infrastructure to bring them to international standards in various port efficiency parameters.

He said the shipping ministry has finalised a National Maritime Development Programme (NMDP) under which an investment of over Rs.100,000 crore is envisaged, out of which Rs.55,804 crore is for port sector and the balance is for shipping and inland waterways sectors.

Pointing to the increasing trade relations between India and Uganda, Tamil Nadu Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said more and more Indian companies are showing interest in investing in the African country.

“Statistics reveal that India’s exports to Uganda went up by over 40 percent and imports from Uganda to 30 percent. Uganda is India’s largest trade partner in the Central African region,” he said.

According to him, India should enhance its human resource capabilities to meet the demands of global industries.

He urged the Indian companies to continue with their quest for excellence and “make innovation a part of their DNA”.