The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Science Report shows that lots of African nations haven’t waited for the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals to start on a more sustainable growth path. Lots of the long-term planning vision’ records to 2020 or 2030 embraced by African countries over recent years have identified sustainable development as being a pillar of the national development plan, along with much more inclusive growth and improved governance.
Regional economic communities are also aware that developing an African Economic Community will have to go hand in hand with higher integration and sustainable growth. As an example, the Vision 2020 document adopted by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2011 aspires to make a borderless, prosperous and cohesive place built on good governance, where individuals can access and harness its enormous resources through the creation of opportunities for sustainable growth. The ECOWAS Policy on Science and Technology (2011) is an essential part of Vision 2020.
At the Pan-African level, also, the emphasis was put on focusing on a more sustainable development path. This orientation stems from an increasing recognition of the importance of Africa’s natural resources and apprehension at the expected ravages of climate change on the continent. It’s showing that the Competitive Research Grants issued by the African Union between 2010 and 2012 focused on post-harvest engineering and agriculture, water and sanitation, fisheries, sustainable and renewable energy, and climate change.
The African Action Plan for 2010–2015 adopted by the African Union and its New Partnership for the Development of Africa Development expressly underscores the role of harmonized regional policies in adapting to climate change.
Local economic communities have regarding the call. In 2013, ministers from among Africa’s most significant economic areas, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), picked a Regional Climate Change program. Meantime, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has been administering a five-year initiative since 2010, together with the SADC and East African Community (EAC) dubbed The African Solution to Tackle Climate Change.
Sustainable Development Plans
In the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (2012), the senior authorities of the state of ten countries commit to incorporating the value of natural capital into corporate planning and national accounting, namely Gabon, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Liberia, Namibia, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania. Since the 2012 summit, an execution framework has been drafted to monitor progress. For instance, in 2013, Botswana pioneered the creation of a National Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.
Emerging Gabon: Strategic Plan to 2025 (2012) states sustainable development is crucial for the country’s growth strategy. Emerging Gabon made a National Council on Climate Change, which generated a National Climate Plan in 2013. Legislation on sustainable development followed in August 2014. As per Emerging Gabon, the share of hydropower in Gabon’s power matrix is to rise from 40 percent to 80 percent in 2010 by 2020. By 2030, Gabon intends to export 3 000 MW of hydropower to its neighboring countries. Gabon has also launched a Centre for Environmental Research along with the University of Oregon in the USA (in 2011). It focuses on environmental governance and climate change, including the development of ecotourism.
Rwanda plans to establish its own Climate Change and Environment Innovation Centre. The nation made the headlines in September 2008 when it banned plastic bags. These are replaced by biodegradable bags made from materials like banana, cotton, and papyrus.
Funding To Reduce The Technology Gap
The deficiency of funding usually prevents project implementation in Africa. In 2008, Rwanda removed this barrier by arranging a National Fund for Environment and Climate Change in Rwanda (FONERWA), as per the National Green Growth and Climate Resilience Strategy. FONERWA offers competitive research funding through calls for proposals. So far, projects have been put forward private companies, Rwandan districts, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and non-governmental organizations. Projects funded through the latest call for proposals (the sixth) comprise the supply of solar energy to off-the-grid communities, the building of micro hydropower plants, rainwater harvesting, and gardening for Kigali’s urban poor. FONERWA is presently identifying funding for the pilot green city’ to be launched by 2018.
The private sector is increasingly driving investment in sustainable development. Many of the social inventions reported in East and Central Africa focus on beating sustainability challenges like food, safety, renewable energy, and climate change mitigation. Technology innovation hubs spring up around the continent, such as Hive Colab in Uganda that helps entrepreneurs innovate in climate engineering, communication and information technologies, and agribusiness.
An increasing number of countries are investing in technology parks, such as Kenya, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Ghana. The use of the United Nations’ Technology Facilitation Mechanism for environmentally sound technologies in September 2015 should help to decrease the technology gap with developed countries. The United Nations is also presently discussing how to operationalize the proposed technology bank, which aims to improve the capability of underdeveloped nations to get technologies developed elsewhere and their capability to patent.
Renewable Energy – A Pillar Of Development Strategies
Renewable energy is a pillar of countries’ development plans. Ethiopia, for instance, is developing biofuels, wind power, and the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam according to its Climate Resilient Green Economy Vision and Strategy, which is part of the Country’s Growth and Transformation Plan for 2011–2015.
Renewable energy is the focus of Madagascar’s five Master Strategies of Research, health and biodiversity, agriculture and food safety, environment, and climate change.
In Liberia, where the infrastructure for energy production was destroyed by a quarter-century of civil war, 59 percent of Liberian companies cite a lack of electricity as being a major handicap to conducting business, according to a World Bank Doing Business Survey in 2012. National Vision of Liberia: Liberia Rising 2030 outlines plans to make greater use of renewable energy and to set up affordable power solutions, with more access to the fuel that doesn’t lead to deforestation.’ Liberia has the biggest rainforest in West Africa.
Geothermal energy is being produced in Kenya’s Rift Valley, reducing imports of fossil fuels and increasing access to electricity, which now only reaches you in five Kenyans. Nearly half of the power now comes from hydropower. However, the rising frequency of drought is causing water and electricity shortages. In parallel, Kenya started building what could become Africa’s largest wind farm in 2014, through the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project.
North of the Sahara, another country has strategies to lead Africa in renewables. Morocco started the continent’s biggest wind farm in 2014 and is building Africa’s largest solar farm in Ouarzazate.
Within its own Solar Plan (2009), Tunisia intends to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 16 percent by 2016 and 40 percent by 2030. Tunisia’s Eco solar Village, a technology park, should soon be operational.
Algeria is Africa’s third-biggest manufacturer of petroleum and ranks tenth worldwide for natural gas. Although, according to British Petroleum’s Statistical Review of World Energy (2009), its known gas reserves could be emptied in half a century. Like Tunisia and Morocco, Algeria is diversifying its energy mix.
Also, it started this change before Brent crude prices started falling in mid-2014. Since 2011, 60 wind and solar projects are approved within Algeria’s Renewable Energy and Efficiency program, which intends to increase the share of renewables to 40 percent of their energy mix by 2030. Algeria signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Union in 2013 for technology transfer to Algeria in renewable energy and fossil fuels.
Centers Of Excellence Taking Sustainability Agenda Of Africa Forward
Many of the networks of centers of excellence set up over the last ten years throughout the continent are using research to take the sustainability agenda of the continent forward. One of the research priorities of the Biosciences eastern and Central Africa Network hosted by Kenya, for instance, are climate-smart forage grasses. Meantime, the Bio-Innovate network in East Africa (est. 2010) is improving crop productivity, agro-processing, and construction of smallholder farmers’ flexibility to climate change.
In 2014, a Call for the setting up of a UNESCO center of excellence on ocean science and innovation for research and capacity-building, as a contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was promoted by the Mauritius Ministerial Declaration embraced by four island nations: Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, and Seychelles.
Development Of The Sustainable Development Goals Fall Short
Advancement so far on the execution of the Sustainable Development Goals has been uneven across countries, targets, and goals. As per the Africa SDG Index and Dashboard 2019, the best-ranked country, Mauritius, had an aggregate rating of 66.19–suggesting that the country is, on average, 66% of the way to the best possible outcome across the 17 SDGs.
Other top performers are Ghana, Botswana, and Rwanda. Although 18 countries (of 46 total) in sub-Saharan Africa are, usually, less than 50 percent along the way towards achieving the best possible outcome on all SDGs. In general, at the index level, these countries are off track on the majority of the SDGs, reiterating the urgency for nations and international partners to collectively accelerate reforms and implementation.
Increases In Education And Health Show Promise, But Gaps Still Linger
Notably, the under-five death rate for Africa (excluding North Africa) has dropped from 85 deaths out of 1000 in 2015 to 76 deaths out of 1000 in 2018. It is a good sign, but still, double the international average of 38.
Neonatal deaths also have improved from 29 per 1000 to 27 per 1000 during the same period. North Africa had already decreased under-five mortality rates to lesser than 35 deaths per 1000 births by 2015 and is very likely to meet up with the objective of fewer than 25 deaths per 1000 births by 2030.
With an intensified and speedy response, other African areas could feasibly meet this goal. Large-scale advancement in health and education remains a concern, even though many African countries haven’t conducted demographic health and national surveys in the SDG period. In sub-Saharan Africa, the net enrollment rate for a primary school has increased marginally, from 77.4% in 2015 to 77.6% in 2017.
More half of the nations in Africa have a primary school enrollment rate of over 90%. They are expected to meet the target of 100% by 2030 if current efforts are sustained. North Africa is assured of achieving the 2030 objective, and the other African countries are also within range. Although the net enrollment rate for lower secondary education has dropped marginally from 28.9 in 2015 to 28.3 in 2017.
Service And Delivery Infrastructure Improved, But Needs Are Clear And Pressing
To house and serve Africa’s fast-growing and young population–anticipated to increase from 1.3 billion today to over 2.5 billion by 2030–governments must approach sorely required infrastructure and service demands quickly. There have been improvements in recent years.
Access to clean drinking water increased to 61 percent in 2017 from 59 percent of the populace in 2015. Access to electricity improved from 39.4 percent to 44.6 percent over the same period.
At the same time, American metropolitan areas will require 565 million new housing units between 2015 and 2030, to keep up with urbanization and population growth. This is roughly 40 million new homes per annum over that time.
Hunger And Poverty Persist, Worsened By Climate Change
As of 2015, Sub-Saharan Africa had the maximum concentration of the world’s poor, with 41.3% of people living under the poverty line. Around 600 million people don’t have access to electricity, and millions die annually from preventable infections.
Constant population growth and climate change also pose two critical threats to continued economic progress. Thirty-one African countries need food aid, and over 30 percent of the 830 million people suffering from an inadequate supply of food is in Africa.
The prevalence of undernourishment increased from 234.6 million in 2016 to 256.1 million in 2018. Also, experts anticipate that a temperature change of 2 degrees Celsius could make farmers lose 40 to 80% of cropland that is conducive to growing millet, maize, and sorghum by the 2030s-2040s.
Main Roadblocks To Improved Change
Given the complexities brought on by climate change and rapid population growth, African countries must attempt to attain the SDGs with urgency, as many of the difficulties will become harder to manage if left unattended. Even with Africa’s interest, without a strong localized and global governance structure, the SDG agenda will falter.
One primary reason to be optimistic for Africa’s progress is the SDGs are in direct alignment with the African Union’s Agenda 2063–the continent’s most long-term economic and social transformational blueprint for a growing continent. In actuality, both agendas align over 85 percent of their objectives.
African countries have shown huge enthusiasm and endeavors in implementing the SDGs, with 90% of countries mainstreaming the SDGs into their national development strategies. While many weak links in the SDGs because of the absence of a global governance structure –are currently waiting to be addressed.
Despite information innovations embedded in the SDG formulation, the knowledge gap remains divide into the preparation and, consequently, poor decision making and outcomes. There is no detailed reporting nor accountability process, nor clarity on pathways and interventions, and little experience or scalable practice for social inclusiveness.
Not much has been done in changing mindsets; we’re currently continuing to do new things the old way. Like in years ago, stakeholders continue to work in silos, replicating interventions with little coordination. Finally, the world only agreed on target and goals, leaving solutions to be developed locally.
State Fragility And Lack of Money Gaps Hinder Advancement
The continent is suffered from a low starting point. Fragility, which confirms in many forms like political, economic, and social insecurity and institutions, remains widespread in parts of the regions, with 80 percent of the world’s fragile states found in Africa.
Despite being among those fastest-growing regions lately, 40 percent of African nations continue to be stated as”low income,” with a GNI per capita of less than $1,025 each year. Financing continues to be a restriction.
The funding gap for SDGs is big for low-income countries, estimated to be more than 14 percent of GDP, on average. Alone, sub-Saharan Africa’s yearly additional spending requirements are estimated at 24 percent of the continent’s GDP, approximately $420 billion.
This funding gap is a significant challenge for many Africa countries, given that, as of 2018, over 20 out of 54 African countries are either in or at a higher risk of debt suffering. Combining this challenge, official development support, though rising overall, is falling in per capita terms, and foreign direct investment has been dwindling in recent years.
While more than a third of the needed funding for the SDGs was anticipated to come from the private sector, the contributions from the private sector so far are smaller.
The Time For Action Is Now
Going forward, leaders at all levels need to tackle the SDGs head-on with a comprehensive and interconnected approach to optimize resources. Since this approach seeks vertical and horizontal coordination, it needs determined and logically framed action strategies for assuring synergies.
The domestication method must go beyond mainstreaming the SDGs into national policies. It must attempt to contextualize both the target and its symbols to local socio-economic certainties.
Our approach has to be changed from the standard present-to-future to future to-present planning, cascading from 2030 backward. Firmly determined to take its future into its own hands, Africa is growing from Adopting agendas to setting the Agenda. Agenda 2063 is one way to do so.
The African Continental Free Trade Area, which will incorporate a market of 1.2 billion people with a GDP of over $3.4 trillion, is creating new opportunities for Africa and its business associates. Additionally, many countries are currently embarking on ambitious development strategies, which are driving new sources of energy and the adoption of technology.
Countries are showing an increased appetite for knowledge and information technology. While Africa should remain dedicated to working with its development partners over the next decade and beyond, achieving the SDGs should be its own responsibility.