Lusaka - Africa risks veering off course on attaining the Sustainable Development Goals espoused under Vision 2030 unless it overcomes poverty, income inequality, hunger, and climate
change among other challenges, Rwandan leader, Paul Kagame, has
“Time is of the essence. 2030 is only a decade away, and our continent
is not on track to meet the targets,” Kagame said in Lusaka last week at the
launch of the Southern African SDG sub-regional centre in Lusaka,
The SDGs, just like the African Union’s
Agenda 2063, are a detailed blueprint for delivering the people in
Africa the future they deserve and unless efforts are accelerated, the
parameters are unlikely to be met at the close of the next decade.
President Kagame, who is chairperson for the SDG Centre for Africa
in Kigali, challenged civil society, governments and
the private sector to join hands in attaining the set goals in health,
education, among other sectors if the continent was to overcome
challenges besetting it, leaving many people vulnerable.
Kagame commended Zambia for honouring its pledge to host the centre, noting that its outstanding quality of facilities and conditions raised hope for regional member states to set the pace for its counterparts in the region.
The centre, once operationalized, will assist in collaborating with all
member states in monitoring efforts in attaining set targets by each
country as it will act as a data base for all countries to determine
achievement levels and provide technical advice.
Kagali reaffirmed Africa’s objective of ensuring it overcame
challenges besetting member states through improving health, economic
opportunity, gender parity, and environmental protection for its
people to be championed by the sub-regional centres to be established
beyond Lusaka with West Africa almost ready with their Liberia office.
He was hopeful the United Nations General Assembly planned for next
month will determine Africa’s preparedness and help assess progress to
date, and renew the global determination to do what it takes to
achieve the goals.
Namibian President and Chairperson for SADC, Hage Geingob, said it
was the desire of the region to ensure it attained the SDG targets by
the set time frame and leave an indelible mark on the present and
future generations by ensuring a better region for all, devoid of vices.
President Geingob, who was represented by his Vice President Nangolo Mbumba, challenged
Africa to strive to attain the SDGs as envisioned by 2030, a rider to
the vision 2063, through domesticating home grown resources that would
not leave the continent wallowing in poverty, hunger and other
challenges, now that the centre had been brought closer to home for
“SDGS are interwoven in 2030 and 2063 and adopting both of these
visions needs cohesion among ourselves if we are to realise our
“We need to face reality and fight poverty, income
inequalities and other vices and time is now,” he said.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu, in accepting to host the centre, described the
event as a landmark and renewed Africa’s hopes that, yet again, it was
capable of winning the war against various vices, war, poverty,
hunger, disease, illiteracy and negative effects of climate change and
The meeting in Lusaka, testified the determination and unwavering
commitment by the southern African region to attaining the SDGs.
The centre in Lusaka, Lungu said, brings the initiative of attaining
SDGs closer to home for all the people in the Southern African region.
“Needless to say, the unity of our countries and people will be
critical to the work, and success of this centre. Together, we will
overcome any obstacles that may come our way,” he said.
President Lungu reminisced on the failure encountered by many African
countries to meet the targets set under the Millennium Development
Goals, citing among other challenges, inadequate financial resources.
He feared the pursuit by Africa to attain benchmarks set under the
SDGs might falter unless the continent devises more innovative ways of
addressing its developmental challenges.
“Time has come for Africa to adopt home-grown solutions to its own
challenges,” he said.
He acknowledged Rwanda’s role in the realisation of such an initiatives.
The centre is envisioned to act as vehicle for facilitating
engagement between governments and other stakeholders in accelerating
the attainment of SDGs, embracing home grown interventions with most
of the solutions to the attainment of the goals found on the