Monday, July 15

President Akufo-Addo’s Four-Point Agenda to Accelerate SDGs Implementation

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo unveiled a comprehensive Four-Point Agenda to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during his address at the SDGs Action Summit 2024.

Speaking to a global audience at the Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast City in Accra, the President emphasized the urgency of scaling up actions to meet the 2030 targets.

The first point of the President’s agenda focuses on unlocking financing for accelerated SDGs implementation. President Akufo-Addo highlighted Africa’s unwavering commitment to the SDGs but acknowledged the persistent financing gap. Citing estimates from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), he revealed that Africa requires an additional $1.3 trillion annually to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

To address this challenge, President Akufo-Addo outlined three key actions. Firstly, he called for enhanced domestic resource mobilization through improved tax collection systems, combating illicit financial flows, and promoting transparency in public financial management. He noted that curbing illicit financial flows, which cost Africa an estimated $90 billion annually, would retain valuable resources within African economies.

Secondly, the President emphasized the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in bridging the financing gap. He advocated for creating an enabling environment through smart policies to attract private capital for critical infrastructure projects, healthcare, education, and renewable energy initiatives. He also highlighted the importance of leveraging blended finance approaches to attract private capital to areas yielding both developmental and financial returns.

The third action involves advocating for a paradigm shift in the global financial architecture. President Akufo-Addo called for comprehensive debt relief for heavily indebted countries to restore fiscal stability and free up resources for sustainable development investments. He also urged for transparent and responsible lending practices to support long-term development goals.

The second point of the agenda prioritizes human capital development in Africa. President Akufo-Addo emphasized Africa’s unique position, with 60% of its population under the age of 25, and the need to invest strategically in youth. He stressed the importance of increasing access to quality education, focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, and promoting arts and humanities to boost critical thinking, creativity, and leadership skills.

The President also highlighted the significance of vocational training and skill development to equip young people with practical skills needed in various sectors. He called for partnerships with the private sector to ensure the relevance of training programs and job opportunities. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of promoting innovation and self-reliance through entrepreneurship, citing Ghana’s National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (NEIP) as a successful example.

Driving innovation in critical sectors of Africa’s economy forms the third point of the agenda. President Akufo-Addo highlighted the potential of financial integration across borders and renewable energy technologies to scale up and accelerate SDGs action. He envisioned a future where capital flows seamlessly across borders, businesses access broader markets, and communities gain greater access to financial services, promoting inclusive and sustainable development.

The President also emphasized the importance of leveraging Africa’s abundant natural resources for renewable energy technologies. He cited Rwanda’s off-grid solar initiatives and Morocco’s Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex as examples of Africa’s leadership in renewable energy innovation.

The fourth and final point of the agenda focuses on building resilient infrastructure to withstand global shocks and stresses. President Akufo-Addo highlighted the vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions, calling for the development of reliable infrastructure to support diverse economic activities. He also stressed the importance of providing smart insurance schemes for financial protection to vulnerable communities and businesses.

In conclusion, President Akufo-Addo urged participants to commit to bold and decisive actions to reinforce dedication to the SDGs. “Together, we can build a sustainable and prosperous Africa that leaves no one behind,” he asserted, calling for collective efforts to achieve the transformative change needed to meet the SDGs by 2030.

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