In this working paper, the authors introduce an MDG Progress Index to assess how on or off track countries are toward MDG targets. They find evidence of dramatic achievements by many poor countries, such as Honduras, Laos, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Nepal, Cambodia, and Ghana. These countries’ performance suggests that they may achieve most of the highly ambitious MDGs. Moreover, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for many of the star MDG performers. Interestingly, poor countries perform nearly on par with middle-income countries. Not surprisingly, the list of laggards largely consists of countries devastated by conflict over the last few decades, such as Afghanistan, Burundi, the DRC, and Guinea-Bissau. Most countries fall somewhere in between, demonstrating solid progress on some indicators and little on others.
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