Building capacity to help Africa trade better

When global goals meet African realities: new report sets out an agenda for change


When global goals meet African realities: new report sets out an agenda for change

When global goals meet African realities: new report sets out an agenda for change
Photo credit: James Harris Anderson | Flickr

The new Sustainable Development Goals will only succeed if they can succeed in Africa. How can we make that happen? A new report from the Africa Progress Panel, Global Goals, African Realities, lays out a roadmap for meeting the goals and transforming lives on the continent.

Africa’s rapidly growing population most needs the change described by both the SDG agenda and the Africa Progress Panel: economic development that leaves no one behind and gives every child a fair chance of leading a decent life. Like the SDGs, Global Goals, African Realities faces squarely our duty to protect future generations by limiting climate change, adopting renewable energy and managing resources sustainably.

The Africa Progress Panel, led by Kofi Annan – the father of the Millennium Development Goals – works to ensure that Africa’s resources, creativity and dynamism are harnessed for the benefit of all Africans. Global Goals, African Realities, brings together findings and recommendations from four editions of the panel’s annual report – including recommendations that have been adopted at the highest levels.

Can the world prevent catastrophic climate change while building the energy systems needed to sustain growth, create jobs and lift millions of people out of poverty? That question, which goes to the heart of the SDG agenda, is tackled in the 2015 Africa Progress Report, Power, People, Planet: Seizing Africa’s energy and climate opportunities.

Solving Africa’s interlocking climate and energy problems will require strengthened international cooperation. The global climate talks in December provide a platform for deepening cooperation and making a down-payment on measures with the potential to put Africa on a pathway toward an inclusive low-carbon energy future and the world on a pathway to avoid climate catastrophe.

The 2014 Africa Progress Report, Grain, Fish, Money: Financing Africa’s blue and green revolutions, examines the vast potential of the sector that most poor Africans work in – agricultural production. The report highlights the gulf between that potential and the growing dependence on food imports. Closing that gulf would provide a powerful catalyst for reducing poverty, generating jobs, feeding urban populations and creating new market opportunities for investment.

Grain, Fish, Money also turned the spotlight on the continued massive plunder of vital African resources, including fish stocks and forests. Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing has reached epidemic proportions in Africa’s coastal waters.

The 2013 Africa Progress Report, Equity in Extractives: Stewarding Africa’s natural resources for all, showed that in many countries, revenues from oil, gas and mining have been widening the gap between rich and poor. A decade of highly impressive economic growth, spurred largely by global demand for African commodities, has not brought comparable improvements in health, education and nutrition.

The report outlines why African and OECD governments should be cooperating far more closely to address systemic tax evasion, the outright plunder of valuable assets and the extensive use of off-shore tax havens by foreign and domestic investors.

The 2012 Africa Progress Report, Jobs, Justice and Equity: Seizing opportunities in times of global change, called on African leaders to tackle the deep, persistent and enduring inequalities across the continent. Countries across Africa are becoming richer but whole sections of society are being left behind. After more than a decade of buoyant growth, almost half of Africans still live on less than $1.25 a day. The current pattern of trickle-down growth is leaving too many people in poverty, too many children hungry and too many young people without jobs.

Viewed through the lens of the SDGs, the equitable growth agenda is more relevant than ever: on current trends one-third of Africans will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030. Africa will account also for a rising share of child and maternal deaths and out of school children.

The vision behind Global Goals, African Realities is the same as the vision behind the SDGs: the need to manage resources wisely and sustainably so that every citizen has a fair chance of leading a healthy, prosperous, fulfilling life, free of poverty. Many African countries are rising to that challenge. Indeed, Africa can help feed the globe’s burgeoning population, spearhead technical innovations, and lead the world on climate-resilient, low-carbon development.

As Kofi Annan says, “Africa is on its way to becoming a preferred investment destination, a potential pole of global growth, and a place of immense innovation and creativity. But there is also a long way to go – and Africa’s governments must as a matter of urgency turn their attention to those who are being left behind. I believe Africa and its leaders can rise to this challenge. If they do, Africa will become more prosperous, stable and equitable.”


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