A new social contract that will boost fair and equal opportunities for citizens is a must to accelerate sustainable development in Africa, a UNECA statement issued late Thursday quoted Claver Gatete, the new executive secretary of the UNECA, as saying.
According to Xinhua, Gatete made the remarks during a recent meeting of experts and policymakers in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, which was held under the theme "Building New Social Contracts in Africa: Choices to fulfill Developmental Aspirations."
"Governments must increase their commitment to forging new social contracts that ensure equal rights and opportunities for all while integrating employment, sustainable development, and social protection," said Gatete.
Gatete said building a new social contract for Africa’s future requires a focus on the levers for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
High-quality education and lifelong learning can serve as catalysts in advancing multiple goals, he said, noting that the effectiveness of education in building new social contracts depends on affordability, accessibility, and applicability, which can make education policies more efficient, equitable, and inclusive.
"Education can be made more affordable by providing subsidies and cash transfers that can alleviate the financial burden on the poor," said Gatete, emphasizing that education programs can be redesigned to improve quality, strengthen institutional credibility, and align education with employable skills.
While underlining that the future of Africa will be significantly influenced by climate change, demographic shifts, rapid urbanization, and digital transformation, the UNECA chief said how these are managed will determine if these trends are beneficial or detrimental to the continent.
A whole-of-society approach will foster a virtuous cycle of trust between the government and the people, resulting in policies that provide equal opportunities, promote intergenerational mobility, and reduce poverty, said Gatete, calling for the identification of urgent and practical measures that enhance efficiency in public spending and foster more inclusive development to support the establishment of a new social contract in Africa.