Dakar, Senegal, May 3, 2018 (ECA) – The Fourth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD) continued in Dakar Thursday with a high-level panel discussing Africa’s transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies, in particular action, solutions and the role of technology.
Panelists, including Cabinet Ministers from Senegal, Uganda and Lesotho, were agreed that Africa has the capacity to come up with solutions to address her challenges, especially as she is endowed with massive natural and human resources.
“What we need to do as a continent is to review our policies, most of which are not working and not delivering for our people, especially the youth,” said Mr. Chris Baryomunsi, Uganda’s Minister of State Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
“The youth will be a big burden for us if we do not enact policies that create meaningful employment that will ensure they have quality lives. We should be skilling our young people otherwise they will be a big challenge for us in politics so let’s continue to interrogate our policies.”
Good governance, the panelists, agreed, was also very crucial if the continent was to successfully achieve the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and ensure no-one is left behind by progress.
Lesotho’s Local Government Minister, Habofanoe Lehana, said Africa was experiencing rapid urbanization and there was no need for politicians to force people to stay in rural areas but they should provide the required services in the cities needed to make their lives comfortable.
“In capitalizing on Africa’s regional competitiveness, let us use this urbanization phenomena, which can be harnessed for sustainable development,” he said, adding Africa’s urban interventions require equal recognition of both the high urban and rural populations.
“That is why we emphasize issues of rural urban-linkages. These are considerations for us in scaling up implementation of the SDGs and other commitments,” said Mr. Lehana, adding urbanization should be on every African country’s development agenda.
Mr. Mame Thierno Dieng, Senegal’s Environment Minister, said his country was doing its best to ensure it harmonized national laws and Agendas 2030 and 2063 as it seeks to fully implement the SDG agenda for the benefit of all its people.
Mr. Said Kambi, Chief Executive Officer of Africa Corporate Governance Network, stressed the importance of good governance if Africa is to address its myriad of challenges and ensure no one is left behind as countries continue to implement the sustainable development agenda goals.
He said the continent should strive for Afrocentric solutions to its issues, in particular financing for its development.
“Financing that comes from outside does not facilitate the rapid transformation that is desired in our countries to improve the quality of the lives of our people,” said Mr. Kambi, adding innovative home-grown financing should be prioritized as well as strengthening partnerships that benefit the continent.
He emphasized the centrality of the private sector in ensuring Africa achieved the SDGs.
South Africa recommended greater recognition of innovation and technological solutions if the SDGs are to be achieved, proposing an annual technology event alongside the ARFSD.
Participants agreed governments should start rewarding innovation so innovators can find solutions to Africa’s issues.
The ARFSD is an intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder platform to review SDG implementation progress, share experiences and lessons learned and build a consensus to accelerate the achievement of the goals contained in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the goals in Agenda 2063.
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