What UN 2030 Agenda Mean for Africa

Posted on October 15, 2015 12:00 am

Having keenly followed the events at last month’s global leaders meeting in New York where they resoundingly endorsed the groundbreaking and transformational agenda 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development after close to three years in the making, the so called SDGs have sparked and brought renewed hope and optimism for multilateralism. According to United Nation, SDGs were developed to be universal,inclusive and people centric.The 2030 Agenda will promote peace and prosperity, touching all lives for both and young and old, poor and affluent, men and women, through its rigorous, holistic and integrated approach to ending poverty everywhere,in all of its dimensions.The design and formulation of the 2030 Agenda was managed through an inclusive, global process on an unprecedented scale, incorporating the priorities and voices of more than 1Billion people from Africa alone, but in forging the new agenda there has also been a shared recognition by World leaders of the need to save planet from calamitous challenges such as climate change, caused by an unchecked rise in greenhouse gas emissions which have, for decades, disrupted and reversed economic and social progress.SDG Agenda, based on 17 goals and 169 targets, poverty eradication can be sustained with comprehensive progress in economic growth, social justice and ecological sustainability. No doubt 2030 Agenda is a bold and inspirational new roadmap that will guide countries to more sustainable growth, which is resource-efficient and respects planetary boundaries, meeting present needs without mortgaging the wellbeing of future generation.This change is urgently needed in the countries of Africa.

Although the region is experiencing significant economic growth and impressive poverty reduction, more than 700 million people still live in poverty, social disparities are widening and growth remains inefficient and wasteful.African region has a shared responsibility to lead, which is why mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda in development plans and budgets, and backing them with strong oversight will be critical for successful implementation. Sufficient financial resources are needed and experts estimates that the region will need to invest between $500 billion per year to fund a comprehensive agenda for sustainable development. These resources are not fully available but national savings total nearly $1.5 trillion, financial assets of the wealthiest African individuals are estimated to be about $400 billion, and foreign exchange reserves account for more than $2 trillion. Most of these sources of savings are currently adding to liquidity, held dormant in deposits or financing third-party country deficits.Africa need instead to effectively harness them along with unwavering political commitment to exploit domestic resources for development. Developing economies of Africa have, on an average, have the lowest tax-to-GDP ratios globally.  Leveraging the potential of strengthened tax regimes is key. Public interest must override the vested interests so that governments can remove tax exemptions and tackle tax evasion practices which are obstacles to investment in better access to basic services.

African countries need to pair innovation with resources, enabling themselves to find and adapt the best policy options for sustainability. Partnerships and stronger, more diversified regional platforms for north and sub saharan Africa cooperation will provide great opportunities for our region to lead the way in ending poverty, transforming lives and protecting the planet.Climate action must be integrated across all areas of policy and governance like social, environmental and economic.African countries must build more resilient societies, prepared for frequent and extreme weather events and their impacts, such as changes in food production systems and migration.Efficient governance and inclusion in Africa need to be embedded in policy execution and implementation. Capacities of governments to engage multiple interest groups with widely varying perspectives, to effectively regulate excesses, monitor policy impacts and adjust policy responses are now critical. African governments must also become more adept at dealing with the unexpected and unpredictable events and enabling all groups in society to respond positively to environmental, economic or social shocks.Innovations, new technologies and associated know how must drive sustainable development across Africa, yet innovation gaps in the continent and the rest of the world remain very large.No single African countries was featured in the top 20 of the 2014 Global Innovation Index. Effective alignment and reinforcement of science, technology and innovation, through the right policies and regulatory frameworks as well as partnerships to facilitate technology transfer, will be mission-critical for successful sustainability.

Contador Harrison