SDGS REALISATION KEY TO AFRICA'S FUTURE – PRES AKUFO-ADDO GHANA
President Akufo-Addo of Ghana has renewed the country’s commitment to adopting and implementing the seventeen SDGs. Speaking at a public lecture at the University of Ghana, where Queen Mathilde of Belgium was present, he emphasised that the 17 SDGs will present current generations with an opportunity to fight the social, environmental and economic issues that plague the continent. The president highlighted that Africa cannot grow out of poverty and achieve the SDGs through charity, in order to succeed, effective and appropriate development models must be adopted, business must be conducted differently and hard decisions must be made to fast-track inclusive growth in the economy.
DEVELOPING WORLD CANNOT SUSTAINABLY ACHIEVE SAME LIVING STANDARDS AS WEST, SAYS STUDY
A global study at the University of Leeds has found that it is not feasible for the entire population of the world to achieve the same high standards of living as in most Western countries because it would require six times the resources that the planet can sustainably provide. There is no country in the world that can meet the needs of its population without overusing resources. However, basic needs such as access to clean water and sanitation, access to electricity and food can be met for the world’s population if resources are used with restraint. In order to meet the basic needs of the world’s population, wealthy, developed nations need to reduce their resource use, while poorer, developing nations need to increase their resource use. The study also found that the UN’s 17 SDGs may undermine each other. For example, trying to achieve the highest level of wellbeing for the world’s population could have a negative effect on the efforts to fight climate change. Therefore, it is more sustainable overall for the world’s population to rather live a ‘good life’ within the planet’s limits than to achieve the highest level of wellbeing by overusing the planets resources which may have catastrophic consequences.
FIGURES OF THE WEEK: ADDRESSING BARRIERS TO DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA’S CITIES
On Thursday, 11th of January, the Africa Growth Initiative at Brookings released its annual Foresight Africa report. It highlighted six key priorities for Africa in 2018. In the second chapter of the report, Sustainable financing for economic development, scholars discussed the urgent need to boost domestic resource mobilisation in Africa, especially because the continent’s rapidly expanding and growing cities require greater public capital investment. This article discusses the infrastructure and financing constraints facing African cities and identifies opportunities to promote sustainable development in the rapidly urbanising region, addressing SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities).
HOW CORRUPT LOCAL OFFICIALS KILL DECENT EDUCATION IN AFRICA
The education systems in many African countries are in trouble. Although there has been substantial investment and some improvements in the education systems linked to the drive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, children in large parts of Africa are not being taught sufficiently and lack the necessary knowledge needed to proceed through the school system. It is argued that there must be better training for teachers, more funds must be invested and central governments must act, rightly so. However, it is important to note the quality of local governments also play a role, as they are closer to communities and they are often in charge of the distribution of goods and services. With regards to education, this would mean textbooks and furniture. This implies that local governant can have a positive or negative effect on the quality of educational resources in a community and indirectly on the performance of the children.
A study conducted on public schools across many African countries found that corrupt behaviour by local government increased the probability that schools would lack necessary resources (for example textbooks), have poor infrastructure and poor teaching quality among other things. This finding stood irrespective of how much money a country’s central government had invested in education.
If Africa is genuine about achieving the Sustainable Development Goal related to education, it must fight corruption in local governments as corruption has a negative impact on education.
THE ROLE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN PREVENTING THE RELAPSE OF CONFLICT IN AFRICA
Three troubling patterns regarding the occurrence and reoccurrence of civil wars exist. Firstly, once a country experiences one civil war, it is highly likely to experience additional incidents of violence. Secondly, reoccurring civil wars are now the main form of armed conflict in the world. Thirdly, civil wars are increasingly concentrated only in a few, mainly poverty-stricken regions of the world. The relationship between conflict and poverty has been detailed many times. Although there are a few exceptions, where there is conflict in a region, there is often poverty which acts to bring about conflict in various ways. Poverty leads to social issues such as unemployment, which in turn leads to youths being attracted to violent groups for example, rebel militia or terrorist groups, because they have no incentive to be good, law-abiding citizens. These violent groups capitalise on local conditions by offering imagined solutions to the issues in the region. Violent groups thrive in regions where there are constantly issues. Thus, in order to tackle conflict and promote sustainable peace, the best solution is to address the social and economic issues in the region. Central governments, regional committees (for example SADC) and NGOs must focus on sustainable development in order to hinder the occurrence or reoccurrence of conflict in a region by providing solutions to the social and economic issues, all of which can be achieved through implementing the SDGs.