Top of the Morning: Mali Pledging Conference Nets $4.2 billion

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International Community Rallies to Support Mali with $4.2 Billion

A very successful pledging conference. “International donors have pledged more than $4.2 billion for development and peace-building efforts in Mali, a sum that far surpassed initial expectations for the pledging conference held Wednesday in Brussels. The donations exceeded the $2.5 billion Malian officials hoped international donors would provide the West African nation. At a press conference in Brussels, French President Francois Hollande, who co-hosted the conference along with the European Union officials, characterized it as a big success. (VOA

Some More Good News on Global Health

The health inequality gap between rich and poor countries is shrinking, says a new WHO report. “This year, the World Health Statistics compares progress made by countries with the best health status and those with least-favourable health status at the MDG baseline year of 1990 and again two decades later. It shows that, in absolute terms, countries in the lowest 25% category of health status have made impressive health progress . For example, the absolute gap in child mortality between the top and bottom countries was reduced from 171 deaths per 1000 live births in 1990 to 107 deaths per 1000 live births in 2011. Some countries that were among those with the world’s highest child mortality rates in 1990 – including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Madagascar, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal and Timor-Leste – have improved child survival to such an extent that they no longer belong to that group.” (WHO

Annual Cost of sub Saharan Africa’s Child Malnutrition: $25 Billion

Chronic malnutrition among children in sub-Saharan Africa is a big burden. A UNICEF conference that ended yesterday said that the loss in productivity and health expenditures add up to $25 billion a year. “It’s proven that because of chronic malnutrition, children can miss two to three years of school,” said Laurent Duvillier, UNICEF’s regional spokesman for West and Central Africa. “So actually, in the case of sub-Saharan Africa, we realize that those countries actually need that qualified manpower, but they may not have those intellectuals, those engineers, those doctors that they actually need because those children cannot reach their potential and their development as they should.” (VOA