Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - UN Development Programme (UNDP) Chief Helen Clark begins a four-country tour of Africa Saturday to highlight progress towards t h e Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the run up to the MDGs Summit in Septem b er 2010.
Clark will travel to Mali, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and South Africa, the UNDP sa id.
In Tanzania, Clark will travel to Zanzibar to visit the Jozani Forest, protected in 2007, and tour the National Electoral Commission in Dar es Salaam to speak w i th newly-registered voters.
In South Africa, she will kick off a promotional pre-World Cup MDGs football mat ch in Pretoria with young girls and boys who are part of a sport and development
''Achieving the MDGs means quite simply a better life for billions of people,'' Clark said. Ahead of her trip to Africa. ''In just under 150 days, world leaders
will come together in New York for a summit on the MDGs. The message I want to b r ing on this trip is that reaching the Millennium Development Goals is possible, a nd there is a range of tried and tested policies which ensure progress, particul a rly when backed by strong partnerships.''
During the tour, Clark will meet with Heads of State and ministers, as well as t ouch base with women leaders and members of civil society, and visit development
In Mali, she will also tour the historic city of Timbuktu and meet with women ma ngo farmers. In Burkina Faso, she will tour a project which facilitates access t o energy for rural women, and will visit a centre for the reintegration of sex wo r kers.
While sub-Saharan Africa remains the developing region with the highest number o f people living in extreme poverty, poverty rates have dropped rapidly since 199 0 , hovering around 46 percent in 2008.
The financial and economic crisis has slowed that progress, however, over the pa st year.
Sub-Saharan Africa has also succeeded in reducing by 17.4 percent, between 2001 and 2008, the number of adults and children newly infected by HIV and AIDS, and a ccess to Anti-Retroviral Therapy has been expanded in many countries.