Top 5 Millennium Development Goal success stories

Ten years ago, the UN gave the world's poorest countries 15 years to halve their poverty rates, reverse the spread of AIDS, enroll 100 percent of their children in elementary schools, and give 100 percent of their pregnant women access to medical care. Now a decade into the program, which of these ambitious goals will be reached?

2. Ghana, Ethiopia, and Africa’s success stories

Viewed through the unflattering lens of bad governance, Africa’s less-than-stellar performance on poverty reduction during the financial crisis makes sense, says Steer. The continent’s poverty rate has dropped only 12 percent in the past 18 years. Infant mortality has barely fallen at all.

But the first decade of the new millennium hasn’t been a complete wash for the earth’s oldest continent, Hay says.

"Sub-Saharan [Africa] is moving more slowly, but it’s moving,” he offered.

The West African nation of Ghana stands out as a success story. It's cut hunger levels by 75 percent since 1990.

Across the continent, in Ethiopia, the percentage of people scraping by on $1.25 a day cascaded from 60 percent to 16 percent.

Angola and the Senegal have already halved their poverty rates.

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