The Millennium Development Goals and Poverty in South Africa

Homeless Man

The Millennium Development Goals are a set of social objectives which were formulated at the United Nations Millennium Summit in 2000 and set out 2015 as the deadline for these objectives. According to UNICEF, eradicating poverty is “the greatest global challenge facing the world today.”

The first and foremost of the MDGs is to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty, which is divided into two parts. The first part of this goal is to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day. The second sub-task is to halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.


South Africa has made considerable advances in achieving the MDG of eradicating poverty, but much remains to be done. As of 2014, there are 4 million fewer people in poverty compared to 2006, but eradicating poverty remains a multifaceted and complex problem in our society. On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, consider the following government responses to poverty in your community.

  1. Improving access to sustainable livelihoods, entrepreneurial opportunities and productive resources;
  2. Providing universal access to basic social services;
  3. Progressively developing social protection systems to support those who cannot support themselves;
  4. Empowering people living in poverty and their organizations;
  5. Addressing the disproportionate impact of poverty on women;
  6. Working with interested donors and recipients to allocate increased shares of ODA to poverty eradication;
  7. Intensifying international cooperation for poverty eradication.


Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It’s man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by actions of human beings” – Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

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