World leaders should make 2006 “the year of real action,” senior UN adviser Jeffrey Sachs said in Kenya today, asserting that the cost of alleviating extreme poverty is definitely affordable.
Billions more people could enjoy the fruits of the global economy, and tens of millions of lives could be saved if donors would fulfill their commitments, Mr. Sachs, UN Special Adviser and Director of the Millennium Project, told reporters in Nairobi, which he is visiting as part of a tour of six African countries.
Commenting on Western assistance to African nations, Mr. Sachs stated that many United States citizens overestimated “by 30 to 50 times” the amount of aid the US Government spends on poor nations. He said that of the approximately $4 billion the US was spending in Africa, “less than one penny out of every $100” actually reached Africans.
Mr. Sachs also pledged that in 2006, the Millennium Project, an initiative he is leading, would be focusing more on food production to alleviate situations like the drought in Kenya and on making investments in water management, health and other basic infrastructural requirements.
The UN Millennium Project is outlined in a 3,000-page document that Mr. Sachs produced one year ago. It contains recommendations for reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of combatting extreme poverty and other global ills.
During his current visit to Africa, Mr. Sachs, who is the Director of the Center for International Development at Harvard University, also has stops scheduled in Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal.