There are eight Millennium Development Goals in total, set for the world to meet by 2015. They are aimed at reducing poverty and disease, and promoting international co-operation.
Kofi Annan periodically reports on the MDG's progress
Irish rock star Bono, who is also a self-styled global ambassador for human rights, has said he believes that while the world overall is likely to meet the goals, it will be because China and India - who between them account for a third of the world's population - are dragging themselves out of poverty.
Africa, however, is likely to be left behind unless further investment and aid is given, he added.
Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Achieve universal primary education
Promote gender equality and empower women
Reduce child mortality
Improve maternal health
Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
Ensure environmental sustainability
Develop a global partnership for development
The goals are not just targeted at poverty however - they also stress equality between men and women, tackling major killers like Aids and malaria, both rife in Africa - and sustaining the environment.
The BBC's Africa Live! programme asks - does Africa have any chance of meeting any of the MDGs? Are some more realistic than others?
What help might be needed to make them happen?
As they are goals most governments aim for anyway, are they actually of any use to Africa?
What do you think is the most important goal?
Join the BBC's Africa Live programme Wednesday, 1st October at 1630 and 1830 GMT.
Use the form to send us your comments, some of which will be published below.
If you would like to take part in the discussion, e-mail us with your telephone number.
Africa will find it very difficult to meet U.N.'s goals. Take Sierra Leone for example , it is plagued by corruption, tribalism,nepotism, mismanagement, injustice and bad governance. Now how can a country like this meet these goals within such a short time?
Alusine Kamara, Sierra Leone
Until the AU and other regional cooperations like ECOWAS, SADDC and EAC manage to convince their big brothers in Europe and America to stop selling weapons and engage in unfair trade the MDGs will never materialize.
Daniel Msemo, Tanzania
Africa will only ever be able to reach these or any other goals, when Africa's leaders stop achieving their goals of self-enrichment and staying in power by any means. The greatest scourge of Africa is not disease or trade policies - it is its leaders.
Africa will be able to meet these MDGs but not within the targeted time frame. To achieve these goals, we should first of all talk about achieving a politically stable Africa where people are free to express their opinions without intimidation.
Allie B Sesay, Sierra Leonean in Germany
I don't think Africa has the ability to meet any of these goals. The reason being that the continent is plagued by a lot of problems including wars, frequent overthrows of civilian governments, poverty and disease. Most of our leaders are not serious in their fight against these problems and until our attitudes change, we will continue to languish in poverty.
The question is not whether Africa can meet the U.N goals but "can the U.N meet Africa's demands?" Each country in Africa requires something different so you can only improve the situation by catering for their individual needs.
Jimmy Morchinkegem, Sudan
If Africa was to achieve just half of those goals by 2015 it would be a great start. Given the current conditions however - corrupt African governments and increasingly unfair global trade, there is no way that Africa will be able to achieve any of the goals. Fundamental changes have to be made from within Africa and the global community if Africa is to move up from last place.
Nicholas Ngugi, Kenyan living in USA
Of course Africa is very capable of reaching the goals set by the UN. However,are the big powers ready for Africa to be at parr with them? If they are, then tell them to give us room to move!!!!!! An african cannot even grow food in his own backyard without paying some Western power. Do we get anything from your own back yards? You should revise your policies.
James, Nairobi, Kenya
Africa is a mess. None of the countries have a prayer of succeeding at meeting any of the goals. The governments are universally corrupt and/or autocratic. The people are largely illiterate or too tribally biased for democracy to work and those in power are only interested in maintaining it. In short, unless outside forces exert EXTREME pressure, even military pressure, African countries will remain in the disgusting pits of misery.
Africa will only meet the UN goals when it begins to focus on the source of the problem. Today, Africa is growing like a carrot! Deep in the ground! The main cause of our problem is lack good leadership, a leader with a vision. With good leadership and democracy African will meet the UN's expectation.
Abdi Endres, Ethiopia,
African countries must learn to control war, disease and poverty to meet even their day to day goals.
African leaders are good at paying lip service to so called projects for the poor while conferencing in hotels and getting fat allowances. 50% of the donor money they receive goes on seminars, 30% on procurement of expensive 4x4 project cars, 5%on adminstrative costs, whilst only the last miserly 5% goes to the poor in the form of 5kg bags of maize flour.
Yes they could. As the saying goes, 'where there's a will there's a way.' Unfortunately there does not seem to be the will in some (and I stress the word 'some') African countries to take responsibility for their own actions and put their own house in order. You only have to look at Zimbabwe to see how in only a couple of years, the actions of one man has turned a thriving food-rich country into a desperate Oliver Twist economy.
James Tandy, UK
It is important for Africa to meet these goals. However Africa's greatest problem is not on the list. We must first stop changing governments through the rebel wars and coups which have plagued our continent for almost half a century.
Dallon Quewea, Liberia/USA
Africa cannot meet the UN's goals because of lack of resources such as food, an efficient health care system, free trade and a good education system.
Africa's development prospects are as tangible as Asia's. But there's one hitch - our leadership. As long as the educated Africans are systematically marginalised by the all-powerful politicians, Africa's development targets will forever remain on paper!
Dan Syanda, Poland
Africa will remain the poor Africa it is now unless a new mentality emerges from Africa itself.
Ahmed Nur Abdi,Sweden
It will be difficult for Africa to meet the UN's goals. Many African countries have not even been able to meet goals set by themselves. This is because of the many self-inflected problems facing us as a continent: bad governance, disease, braindrain, and human rights abuses on political opponents. The unfavourable world economic order also makes things difficult for us. We have a long way to go in solving our problems.
Goals need measurable targets! Africa can only develop as a global partner with world support so the developed world must allow them unfettered access. Water and sanitation for everyone MUST be one of the goals - Africa fought hard against the USA in the Johannesburg UN World summit for this one. Let's hope it is possible.
Ken T, South Africa
Good governance will be the ultimate starting point for the MDGs to be successful.
Yitatek, South Africa
Africa's needs and goals are differenf from those of the UN. There is a conflict of values. The needs of the bigger economies include getting cheap minerals and fibres and of course cheap labour. Let us see fair terms of trade first of all.
Yes, the goals will be met if more resources are made available to local African non-governmental organisations, rather than channelling finances through corrupt African Governments.
Mohamed Hafiz Tunis, USA resident
These goals, while noble, remain problematic. They may be viewed as promoting a subversive cultural imperialism.
Andrew Saunders, Australia
In a nutshell all eight MDGs are attainable if every African can read and write. They must be able to air their views in a democratic environment. Education also helps reduce disease and poverty. Whilst agriculture is the main livelihood, there needs to be a strategy for value-added goods and services. Africa's vast resources have not been fully tapped. Partnerships with rich nations can help this exploitation. I am optimistic that as long as Africa has democratic values with checks and balances, the above can be attained. But not by 2015.