Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 214
The post-2015 development includes level-end goals for both under-five and neonatal mortality to be obtained by 2030: no more than 25 and 12 deaths per 1,000 births, respectively. Recent accelerations in the rate of reduction in under-five mortality have been cited as a cause for optimism. In this paper, we show that changes in mortality rates are subject to mean reversion. Hence, high rates observed recently for Sub-Saharan Africa make for an overly optimistic estimate of future reductions. Taking this into account in projecting mortality rates until 2030, we find that only very few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are likely to attain the new targets while a majority of countries elsewhere are likely to attain the target or have done so already. We also show that while MDG4 has been rightly criticized as `unfair' to Sub-Saharan Africa in the past, a relative target may have been more appropriate today and would be relevant for all countries. We also offer a discussion of likely challenges the region faces in making further inroads against preventable deaths.