WITH an estimated 390 million people said to be living in extreme poverty, hunger and food insecurity, Africa is in a race against time to deliver on its regional and global development goals.
On the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week, African heads of states and governments met to emphasise urgent collective action and the need for greater collaboration between the United Nations and the African Development Bank (AfDB), to fast-track Africa’s development.
The meeting, convened by the African Development and the United Nations, was “the first of its kind” between the two institutions taking place at the UN headquarters.
Underscoring the strong convergence between the continent’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development, the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the AfDB’s high 5s, stakeholders agreed it was time to join forces to deliver.
“We are entering into the decade of action to deliver the SDG’s . . . The investment requirements are vast,” UN deputy secretary general, Amina Mohammed, said.
“The role of the AfDB is crucial . . . to help de-risk investments and attract investment flows. Africa’s premier institution needs much more support.”
The leaders called for additional resources to drive the urgent task of Africa’s development.
Speaking at the meeting AfDB president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said: “The clock is ticking, the seconds are passing very fast, yet we still have time left on the clock. We can still close the gap. I am fully convinced that with a change of pace, driven by a greater sense of urgency, and global collective responsibility, Africa can still achieve the SDGs”.
The leaders spoke of what had worked in their countries — including mainstreaming development goals into national plans, scaling up initiatives, and the implications of harmonising policies and strategic entry points for the implementation of development goals at national, regional and global levels.
Vera Songwe, executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa called the SDGs Africa’s “highest challenge.” Stemming the tide of illicit financial flows, public debt and tax evasion would be urgent measures to be taken by leaders if they meant to stay on track, she said.
Areas for potential collaboration include climate change in Africa, gender mainstreaming, promoting private sector investment, measures to utilise risk insurance to mitigate impact of natural disasters in Africa and appropriate security arrangements to support the bank’s operations in fragile states in on the continent. — AfDB news