The 2018 Africa Sustainable Development Report: Towards a transformed and resilient continent was launched during the 12th Session of the Committee of Director-Generals of the National Statistics Offices which was hosted by the Government of Sudan. The meeting took place at the Friendship Hall, Khartoum, Sudan. The annual report that is jointly prepared by the Economic Commission for Africa, the African Union Commission, the African Development bank and the United National Development Programme – Regional Bureau for Africa underscores Africa’s progress and lessons learned in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the continental Agenda 2063. This year’s report focuses on five goals of the 2030 Agenda (Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation; 7 – Affordable and clean energy; 11 – Sustainable cities and communities; 12 – Responsible consumption and production; and 15 – Life on Land; and the related Agenda 2063 Goals. Science, Technology and Innovation is underscored in a separate chapter as an important means of implementing the goals as part of Goal 17.
During the Launch Dr. Rene Kouassi, Director of Economic Affairs Department at the African Union Commission noted that the report is the second in a series that track progress on the two Agenda’s in an integrated manner. He further noted that the report is aligned with the theme of the 2018 High-level Political Forum, “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies".
While launching the report, Dr. Adam Elhiraika, Director of the Macroeconomics and Governance Division of the Economic Commission for Africa highlighted the progress recorded by African countries on each of the six goals and lessons learned. He noted that while there has been progress and increased funding for water and sanitation and energy, only about 24 percent of the population have access to safely managed water sources, and about 53 percent of the population have access to electricity. With rapid urbanisation in Africa, member States need to incorporate urban planning into their national development plans and invest in basic infrastructure for them to benefit for the advantages of population agglomeration. He further noted that Africa’s contribution to global materials consumption is still low, but expected to increase rapidly with expanding population and incomes. Most African countries invest less than one percent of GDP on Research and Development and there is limited collaboration between the public and private sectors in this area.
In conclusion, he noted the need for robust data collection and management systems, stronger institutional coordination within countries and among development partners as well as innovations that strengthen inter-sectoral planning and collaboration for coherent and effective implementation of two Agendas. African countries need to invest more in Research and Development to enhance their capacities for science and technology that are needed for faster industrialisation and economic transformation.