Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals: Is Africa on Track?

This was the question African countries gathered together to answer in a forum organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in collaboration with the African Union(AU) named the Sixth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD). It was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from 24th to 27th February 2020 and had representation from all African Countries. The event was being held in the background of UN celebrations at 75 years and was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, His Excellency, Comrade Emerson Mnangagwa.

The forum was attended by very senior officers from various the United Nations and its agencies, the AU, African Governments and Civil Society. The UN was led by the Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Amina Mohamed while UNECA had its Executive Secretary Ms. Vera Songwe who is also a UN Under Secretary. The Kenya Government was represented by officials from The National Treasury and Planning led by the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Mr. Nelson Gaichuhie, SDG Unit, NCPD and NEPAD/APRM (New Partnership for Africa’s Development/ African Peer Review Mechanism.

 

Kenyans at the event with the CAS Mr. Gaichuhie and Kenya’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe

Theme

The theme of the forum was ‘2020-2030: A Decade to Deliver a Transformed and Prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063’. Objective

Purpose

The purpose of the forum was to get progress reports on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 at regional and Sub-regional levels. However, the meeting mostly focused on SDGs as Africa is in the crucial decade of both delivery and achievement for SDGs with frameworks and implementation plans now in place. The event thus served to kick off the decade of action.

The Situation in Africa

Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia. The population of Africa is high and rapidly growing at 1.3 billion people which is about 17% share of the World population.

Some challenges facing Africa;

  • Poverty with millions of people facing food insecurity.
  • Access to Health
  • High youth unemployment
  • Natural environment suffering severe effects of climate change (severe droughts, floods and locust invasion)
  • Rapid urbanisation,
  • Gender inequality,
  • Violent conflict,
  • Political fragmentation
  • National and Regional integration

Agenda 2063, the Vision/Action Plan for Africa driven by the AU calls to action all African States to work together towards socio- economic transformation of the continent over 50 years (2013-2063). It seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.
The seven aspirations of Agenda 2063

In the document, the African countries committed themselves to achieve the following aspirations by 2063:

  • A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
  • An integrated continent politically united and based on the ideals of pan-Africanism, and a vision for Africa’s renaissance.
  • An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
  • A peaceful and secure Africa.
  • An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics.
  • An Africa whose development is people driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.
  • Africa as a strong, united and influential global player.

Key Messages from the ARFSD

Major scientific and analytical reviews in 2019 concluded that no country was on track to achieve the SDGs.

Africa therefore needs;

  • More ambition- Stronger commitment and financing (mobilize more domestic resources)
  • More mobilization- more involvement of the population and having young people as drivers of technology
  • More Solutions- in science, expanding access, better education/skills, more effective partnerships and better data
  • National and regional initiatives towards implementation and achievement of the goals need to be accelerated in terms of stability, security and support.
  • Environment and climate change are the foundation of the SDGs.
  • Climate change is a harsh reality; it needs to be prioritized
  • The role of women is critical and needs to be enhanced, so SDG 5 is an urgent priority
  • Youth can create jobs if given the right environment.
  • Africa needs better policies to open up business and stronger budgetary policies
  • The right data is crucial for implementation and tracking of SDGs
  • Digital technology should be employed more in data collection and money transfer.
  • Without peace, security and stability, SDGs cannot be achieved.
  • Continuous sharing and reviewing commitments should ‘leave no one behind’
  • South-South Cooperation is key in human and sectoral capital development.
  • It is possible for Africa to go faster and higher as the eagle!

NCPD is at the heart of Kenya’s efforts to improve the People (population), Planet (environment) and Prosperity (quality of life) hence achievement of SDGs.

 

Watch a great video on the 17 promises here

More details on the ARFSD can be obtained here

 

For more details on this blog contact Wambui Kungu on wkungu@ncpd.go.ke