Africa needs to interrogate its realities 

A panel discussion on the SDGs analysed some of the issues that have caused a lag in implementation and effectiveness. 


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These include a failure to implement existing policies and misdirecting policymaking priorities and focus by not clearly understanding the true situation of wealth creation and resource mobilisation in African economies. Cristina Duarte, UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary General on Africa, pointed out that Africa’s current debt distress is an outcome of its lack of economic and financial independence. 

Duarte, examining the causes of Africa’s policymaking weakness, said Africa has not built resilience to deal with SDGs and without this, it will not get on top of the problem. 

Nemera Gebeyehu, Minister of State for Planning and Development in Ethiopia, said SDG programmes need to be aligned at different levels, allowing for continental and country approaches.

He said that in dealing with financing issues, the peculiar nature of African economies needed to be considered.  

Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Secretary General and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, asked what value was being added for Africa in the race for its minerals to drive the energy transition.

Few Africans understand the implications of agreements signed by their governments and fewer understand what it means to attain the SDGs.

She said nearly 8,000 primary schools had closed in the Sahel because of the Islamic insurgency. 

“By 2063 those children will be in late 40s and 50s – they will be the leaders of those countries. How are they preparing today for tomorrow?”

“How do we apply the SDGs to real life situations? What are the different pathways for countries to 2030 and 2063?”

“We are looking at this continent as if it were one entity on the same track. We need to disaggregate. 

She said once the lens had been applied to contextual realities, countries could begin to construct plans in real time.   

Mitihika Mwenda, Pan Africa Climate Justice Alliance Executive Director, said Africa needed to build a different narrative to gain more credibility in global affairs.

“As Africans we need to ask the question about whether we are at the table in setting the global agenda or are we part of the meal?” 

Admassu Tadesse, Admassu Tadesse

Group President and Managing Director
of the Trade and Development Bank, said Africa needs to learn to live with storms and their associated shocks and crises. “We need to learn how to move the needle within our own space.”

“There are a lot of opportunities around impact and blended finance and public-private partnerships. These are how to get more traction in implementing the agenda of sustainable poverty reduction. Otherwise, we are just papering over the cracks.”