As a leader of a least developed country, I speak from experience when I say that poverty is too complex a phenomenon, and the strategies for fighting it too diverse and dependent on local circumstances, for there is no single silver bullet in the war on poverty.
We have learned the hard way over the years.We have experimented with all kinds of ideas.
Yet a report recently released by the World Economic Forum shows that barely a third of what should have been done by now to ensure the world meets its goals to fight poverty, hunger and disease by 2015 is done.I am now convinced that the Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations in 2000 can only be attained through a global compact, anchored in national policies that take into account local circumstances.
Aid and trade are both necessary, but they are not enough on their own.Neither is good governance enough in itself.Above all, nothing can move without the direct participation of local communities.I fear that we lecture too much.This is not the best way.
I will give an example of how such a compact worked in Tanzania to achieve universal basic schooling.
I the mid-1990s, almost all indicators for basic education were in free fall.The gross enrollment rate had fallen from 98 percent in the early 1980s to 77.6 percent in 2000.The net enrollment rate had likewise fallen, from over 80 percent to only 58.8 percent.
Then several things happened.We decided at the top political level that basic education would be a top priority, and adopted a five-year Primary Education Development Plan to achieve universal basic education by 2006—nine years ahead of the global target.
Good governance produced more government revenues, which quadrupled over the last eight years.In 2001, we received debt relief under the World Bank’s enhanced HIPC （ heavily indebted poor countries ） Initiative.Subsequently, more donors put aid money directly into our budget or into a pooled fund for the Primary Education Development Program （ PEDP ） .
The government’s political will was evidenced by the fact that over the last five years the share of the national budget going to poverty reduction rose by 130 percent.We abolished school fees in primary schools.
Then we ensured that all PEDP projects are locally determined, planned, owned, implemented and evaluated.This gave the people pride and dignity in what they were doing.After only two years of implementing PEDP, tremendous successes have been achieved.