Africa to build on progress towards Agenda 2063

The 8th African Regional Forum for Sustainable Development (ARFSD) opened with a reminder for Africa to acknowledge the progress the continent has made towards targets in 2030 and 2063 and to improve upon them.

The forum is an annual event to review and catalyze actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and goals of the African Union Agenda 2063. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda shared his hope that Africa will use the pandemic as a “springboard to speed up progress and innovate smarter ways to invest in human capital development.”

He also commended the ECA on its advocacy on the AfCFTA as “a mutually beneficial partnership to strengthen Africa’s capacity to manufacture vaccines and pharmaceuticals” during this pandemic.

President Kagame’s sentiments were shared by Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group. She applauded the progress made on the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) but added that the continent must build “stronger and more resilient health systems by investing in healthcare”.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Vera Songwe, explained that “progress achieved by Africa in the areas of climate change, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the management of COVID-19, and education must be applauded.” She added, “We are in Rwanda where more than 70% of the population has been vaccinated.”

Ms. Songwe said despite the tendency for the AfCFTA to be perceived as far-fetched, the fact that African countries have traded more among themselves during the pandemic than the five years before that period is a testament to the potential of the partnership. In other instances, Africa has led the way on the global stage, such as Rwanda’s decision to ban plastic, which is now a commitment made by some 200 countries despite the objections of the petrochemical industry.

The ARFSD is an annual multi-stakeholder platform organized by the ECA and the host government, this year, Rwanda, in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and other entities of the United Nations Systems. This year’s main event will be held from March 3 to March 5, 2022, on the theme ‘Building forward better: A green, inclusive and resilient Africa poised to achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.’