By Jeff Kapembwa
Lusaka - Africa is generally on track to attain the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, but needs increased funding by member states to be prioritised to drive the agenda as espoused by vision 2030, Africa’s leading economic bloc has noted.
And financial estimates by SDGs Kigali head office shows that the 55-member states need to set aside between US$800 million to US$1.2 billion annually, representing 14 % of GDP to attain the SDGs with bias towards the development of the continent.
Chileshe Kapwepwe, the secretary-general for the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) notes in her report that while there have been various strides in economic growth in the region, growth rates have been lower than expected to eradicate extreme poverty, although the health sector has performed well.
“There have been improvements in the provision of health care in most of Africa as shown by the reduction of infant mortality rates, particularly in the transmission of mother to child HIV.
“Comesa Health Framework and HIV/Aids Policy, and the Youth Programme with components on the health of the young women and men under the Gender and Social Affairs Programme, aim to address the good health and well-being of individuals. Major efforts are still required to achieve the 2030 targets,” Kapwepwe said.
While the 21-member economic grouping has prioritised, among others, fighting climate change to avert abject poverty among the more than 600 million people, more needs to be done, despite the 24-year-old grouping prioritising redress to ensure food security in the region.
Kapwepwe disclosed that key among other countervailing measures against climate change include carbon dioxide emissions while “going green” was another major policy consideration being pursued and advocated among member states to avert extreme hunger.
“Concerning climate action particularly, with regards to CO2 emissions, Africa (Comesa) has developed into the best performing region in the world. Comesa programmes incorporate aspects of climate action, for example the industrialisation strategy recognises that going green is a major policy consideration.
“Comesa has a proactive climate change programme that advocates for climate smart agriculture,” she stated.
Although Africa has embraced several examples of mainstreaming gender on the continent, with almost all member states implementing gender sensitive programmes, notably Rwanda and Ethiopia where women make up more than 50% of cabinet and other executive positions, more needed to be done.
Kapwepwe reiterated Comesa’s desire to attain SDG-17 bordering on partnerships for the attainment of the goals. For the goal to be sustainable, and for development agendas to yield their intended benefits, it requires strong collaborative efforts with governments, private sector, academia, international agencies and civil society.
Strategic partnerships were useful for financial and non-financial assistance. Partnerships should be based on mutual respect and trust, accountability and long term perspectives.
The veering off track on SDGs faced various risks and needed Africa to double up efforts to realise SDGs. These included spurring inclusive growth in the economies by targeting areas that absorbed labour such as SMEs, modernization of agriculture, and encouraging trade in services.
“Economies must improve technologies to enhance productivity and lower the cost of doing business. Many African countries have invested heavily in infrastructure such as installing solar plants, building hydro-power dams, constructing roads, ports and runways. Infrastructure supports trade and investment in the region and continent,” she said.
“The efforts so far undertaken by member states to develop human capital, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics should be sustained. Human capital development is a means for sustained economic growth and can promote economic equity.”
Africa needed to champion data revolution as the sources were both from official and non-official statistics. A data revolution entailed governments needing to urgently reform the statistical system through dynamic second-generation national strategies for the development of statistics.
The strategies will ensure that a comprehensive national statistical system is promoted.
“Data as we understand it is both official and non-official or administrative. When a multi-sectoral statistical system is developed, indicators that emanate from administrative data sources in different sectors become available and benefit from scientific statistical validation,” said Kapwepwe.