By Frank Amponsah
The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is mobilizing support for accelerating the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.
He wants African leaders to pursue the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with high sense of urgency.
According to him, it has become imperative to see the Goals materialized due to the deficit in human development on the African continent, the high levels of poverty and deprivation, climate change and the teeming numbers of young people who are unemployed.
He said this yesterday during the opening session of a high-level Africa roundtable on SDGs, held under the theme “Mobilizing Support and Accelerating growth of SDGs”.
The two-day meeting is hosted by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, co-chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates, along with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway
President Akufo-Addo said it will take selfless and empowering leadership, smart and progressive policies, as well as the empowerment of Africa’s women to ensure the full implementation of the SDGs in Africa.
For him, it has become imperative to see the Goals materialized due to the deficit in human development on the African continent, the high levels of poverty and deprivation, climate change and the teeming numbers of young people who are unemployed.
Akufo-Addo urged the leaders of the African continent to commit to making sure that the SDGs are implemented in their various jurisdictions.
On his part, the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, said African governments cannot on their own ensure the implementation of the SDGs. He said private sector cooperation is paramount if Africa is to be successful at the implementation of the SDGs.
He therefore urged African leaders to strategically engage the private sector in their respective countries in order for their expertise to be tapped for the execution of the SDGs.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
These 17 goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected, often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. They provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large. The SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet.
Also delivering an address at the forum, the Rwandan President Paul Kagame said developing countries have to embrace public-private partnerships if the world is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Paul Kagame said for the SDGs to fully fit into poverty eradication plans for most developing countries, strong collaboration between governments and the private sectors is “critical”.
He said that once this aspect is well exploited, nations would easily reach the new targets and transform the lives of people.
He said: “There are two main aspects of the SDGs that constitute an improvement from our experience with the MDGs.” Kagame said. “First is the strong emphasis on the private sector as an engine to eliminate poverty and create wealth, objectives that are at the heart of most of our national plans.”
The SDGs are a comprehensive set of 17 goals which seeks to go beyond the remarkable past accomplishments of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to create a sustainable world by 2030.
Formed through extensive worldwide consultations with all segments of society, with an emphasis on targeting global challenges, the SDGs are seen as a comprehensive development plan to leave no person behind. The goals were officially adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at the UN General Assembly.
The implementation of the 15-year agenda for sustainable development begun on January 1 2016 and, among others, seeks end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and to fix climate change.
“Integrating the SDGs into these plans and ensuring their implementation cannot be successfully achieved by government alone. This is why strong collaboration with the private sector is critical for reaching a win-win situation,” Kagame said.
The financing gaps for major projects, Kagame noted, can be filled by private sector investment through appropriate de-risking mechanisms provided by the public sector and other partners.
He also noted that SDGs are rather an “ambitious framework”, hence global partnerships between developing and developed countries would go a long way in bridging the gap to address the issues for which the development agenda was devised.
“We have an ambitious development framework to engage all countries rather than just developing ones, especially knowing that there are cross-cutting issues that affect everyone.
“This provides new scope for productive global partnerships and learning. This could include reaching consensus on how to measure progress and support implementation in ways that are most relevant for our respective national contexts,” he said and pledged that Rwanda would continue to collaborate with partner states, particularly through the SDG Center for Africa “which we are happy to host in Kigali and continue to welcome your support on that as well.”
He averred that the centre was established to facilitate coordination and advocacy and help in building capacity to implement the SDGs.
“I invite you all to use it and support it as we support our continent,” he added.