JOHANNESBURG, 22 June 2010 (IRIN) – Ghana, often hailed as a success story in West African agriculture, tops a global list of 10 countries that have managed to slash their number of hungry people by a huge margin.
The list is included in the preliminary findings of a report card on the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a UK-based think-tank.
The eight MDGs range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education by 2015. MDG 1 aims to eradicate poverty and hunger.
The ODI researchers showed progress towards the MDGs in absolute as well as relative terms, said Liesbet Steer, a senior researcher at ODI who worked on the report.
The absolute methodology records the progress of countries, while the relative measure records progress towards achieving the MDG. Steer said the rationale behind the use of two measures was illustrated by Ethiopia and Ghana.
Ethiopia features in the ODI’s list of top 10 countries that have made absolute progress, but not in its list of countries that have made relative progress, which Ghana topped.
Ghana cut the number of malnourished people – one of the indicators of MDG 1 – by 75 percent between 1990 and 2004; it more than halved the number of undernourished people from 34 percent to 9 percent in the same period.
Ethiopia, which has struggled with food insecurity, also brought down its percentage of hungry people quite significantly, from 71 percent in 1990 to 46 percent in 2004.