President Nana Akufo-Addo has described the realization of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as an investment in the future of the youth and children of the African continent.
He said the 17 UN SDGs “present our generation with the great opportunity to fight inequality on all fronts, wipe out extreme poverty, tackle the issues of climate change, and reverse the degradation and unsustainable use of our environmental resources.”
It is for this reason that Ghana, the President indicated, has taken up the challenge of the SDGs.
“We have captured them in our Co-ordinated Programme for Economic and Social Development Policies, which was submitted to Parliament last November, and we have set up a Governmental Inter-Ministerial Committee to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the SDGs,” the President added.
He said this known on Friday when he delivered the opening remarks at a public lecture addressed by Queen Mathilde of Belgium, at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo who is the co-Chair of the Group of Advocates of Eminent Personalities of the SDGs, noted that the Group of Advocates, which includes Queen Mathilde, has the duty to promote the universal character of the SDGs.
The Group also has to engage of new stakeholders in the implementation and financing of the global goals, encourage partnership with civil society and the private sector, and to share knowledge and best practices necessary to support accelerated implementation of the goals.
“We must succeed in removing millions of people out of poverty, protect our planet, and provide hope of a secured future to the teeming youth in the world, who have the greatest stake in the SDGs. And this is exactly what I am firmly committed to championing, as Co-Chair of the Advocates,” the President stated.
With Africa at a critical stage in its development, he noted that the realization of the SDGs could mark a major turning point for the continent.
“With some 75 percent of the world’s poor living in Africa, poverty eradication remains an enormous challenge. But we have a great opportunity, with the SDGs, to reverse that, and, with smart policies, make considerable inroads in eradicating poverty, and bringing prosperity and increased human development to the continent,” he added.
Achieving the SDGs, President Akufo-Addo said, will take bold ambition in thought and actions, creativity, innovation, hard work, and, most critically, connecting to the positive and abundant energies of the youth.
“The story of Africa’s hitherto inability to develop is primarily the story of our damaging colonial heritage and bad governance. We must make governance and our governance systems work for the eradication of poverty and the creation of prosperity and wealth. And, as we embark on this path, we must commit to building accountable and transparent institutions,” he stated.
The President added, “We cannot grow out of poverty and achieve the SDGs through charity and the benevolence of others. If we are going to succeed to move Africa Beyond Aid, this cannot be a mere slogan.
“It will take adopting more effective and appropriate development models, doing business differently, and making the tough choices necessary to accelerate inclusive growth in the economy.”
President Akufo-Addo reiterated his belief that a key accelerator to achieving the goals is a strong and vibrant private sector, which has the space to grow, flourish and unleash the entrepreneurial talents of our people.
As the African Union’s Gender Champion, he added that “for our continent to achieve the SDGs and capture totally our grandeur, we must succeed in fully unleashing the potential of Africa’s women. This is an absolute priority for me, as it should be for one privileged to be labelled the African Union Gender Champion.”