President Kagame made the observation yesterday as he addressed participants in the Sustainable Development Goals Summit held in Kigali yesterday.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030.
These goals’ targets by 2030 are Poverty eradication, achieving Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure, Reducing Inequality, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life On Land, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions and Partnerships for the Goals.
On the third day of the Summit reflecting on three years of SDGs, President Kagame talked on the report of Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) highlighting that on almost every Goal, the continent is not on track to achieve the 2030 targets that even the best are lagging behind the rest of the world.
“This would not necessarily be discouraging, if the rate of change was high. We all know where Africa is coming from, and how much catching up we have to do. However, on too many indicators, the pace of progress is stagnant or even declining,” he said.
President Kagame stressed, the most important thing is the right mindset understanding that ‘The SDGs are universal and ambitious, meaning they set targets that apply to countries at every level of economic development’.
He explained that achieving the SDGs represents the attainment of a significant level of prosperity and well-being, not merely the elimination of extreme poverty that Africa should consider it as the problem and responsibility.
“The development assistance is not growing, and it is reasonable to expect that trend to continue. Foreign investment is also flat. On the other hand, speeding up progress toward the SDGs is first and foremost our problem and responsibility as Africans,” said Kagame.
SDGC/A report show SDGs financing gap in Africa estimating between 500 billion and 1.2 trillion dollars per year.
President Kagame stressed the need to work closely with partners noting that the political leadership on this topic has to be heard most strongly from African voices. He said remittances from the African diaspora are now the largest source of external income for our continent.
SDGC/A has recently announced plan to concert much effort on education, health and agriculture as central areas to other goals.
President Kagame hailed the initiative emphasizing that the idea to establish dedicated African funds for education, water, and health has a lot of merit.
“This is an opportunity to work with Africa’s partners in new and better ways, and deliver human-scale projects that directly touch the lives of farmers, families, and schoolchildren,” he said.
Director General to the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A), Dr. Belay Begashaw also highlighted that achieving SDGs remains a major concern of Africans.
The Chairperson of African Union Commission (AU), Moussa Faki Mahamat said that intervention of private sector is of great importance to preparing, implementing and assessing the impact of SDGs and AU Vision 2063.