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Statement by ECA Acting Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro at the 2023 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

20 July, 2023
ECA Acting Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro

Statement by ECA Acting Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro

Session: General Debate

Theme: “Building momentum towards the 2023 SDG Summit: Transformation for accelerating implementation of the SDGs”.

Venue: Trusteeship Council Chamber.




Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is no secret that we are currently off-track from delivering on the promises of the 2030 Agenda, especially on the African continent.

Nevertheless, rescuing the SDGs for Africa is possible.

We will need to take decisive action to capitalize on the opportunities before us towards achieving our collective goals.

For Africa, I see five drivers that must be leveraged:

First, fast-tracking the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, which will serve as a catalyst to enhance productive capacities, achieve sustainable industrialization and economic diversification, a key factor to break Africa’s excessive dependence on the export of raw materials and reduce its vulnerabilities to external shocks. COVID-19 taught us a lesson on why Afroshoring must be a priority.

Second, accelerating agriculture and food systems transformation with the Common African Agro-Parks Programme (CAAPs) being a key entry point.

Third, strengthening Africa’s mineral security to meet people’s basic needs and accelerate the structural transformation of local economies by moving beyond resource extractivism to value addition, the DRC-Zambia transboundary Special Economic Zone for Batteries and Electric Vehicles being a case in point.

Fourth, making the continent’s natural capital an engine for growth and sustainable development by developing a robust Carbon Credit Market to potentially generate US$82 billion a year if we succeed to sell a ton of CO2 at US$120.

Fifth, fostering climate action and sustainable energy transitions by harnessing Africa’s huge solar, hydrogen, geothermal, hydropower and wind energy potential to promote the green and blue economy.

Human capital development, digital transformation, and science, technology and innovation, are the foundations for Africa’s sustainable development, beyond GDP metrics.

To achieve transformational change, we must move our focus away from pilots and projects, towards integrated programmes with greater scale, ambition and depth.

We must also heed the Secretary-General’s call for an ambitious reform of the global financial architecture to make it fit for purpose, and for a SDG stimulus of $500 bn, for increased liquidity to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

While MDBs are already contributing significantly to de-risking investments on the continent, the need remains to improve multilateral debt restructuring frameworks and unlock climate financing.

Central to the domestic reform agenda is the need for resource mobilization through expanding the tax net, deepening capital markets and curbing illicit financial flows.

Creating favourable conditions for domestic investment as well as foreign direct investments will also be critical for engaging private sector and potentiating the emergence of competitive small and medium-scale enterprises. Effective implementation of smart local content policies can deliver on this.

ECA reaffirms its commitment to supporting its member States and working collaboratively across the system and with all stakeholders to strengthen Africa’s agency and realise the Africa We Want.

I thank you for giving me the floor.