Let’s prioritise human capital devt towards attainment of SDGs – Pres appeals to African leaders

 The President, Nana Addo Dank­wa Addo-Akufo, has appealed to his colleague African leaders to proritise the human capital development of the continent as a measure towards the attainment of Sustainable De­velopment Goals (SDGs).

He said Africa, with its unique position and 60 per cent of its population under the age of 25, needed to strategically invest in the youth in order to prepare them for a takeover of the continent’s future.

President Akufo-Addo made the appeal at the SDG Action Summit 2024 which opened at the Gold Coast Kempinski Hotel in Accra yesterday.

The two-day summit which is be­ing organised under the auspices of President Akufo-Addo in his capac­ity as the co-chair of the Emeritus Group of SDG Advocates is on the theme: “From mid-point to suc­cess- Recommitting, scaling up and accelerating action on the SDG”.

It is being attended by eminent personalities including thought leaders, civil societies, politicians, technocrats, diplomats and political leaders from across the world.

Outlining his four-point agenda to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs, President Akufo-Addo said there was an urgent need for the continent to scale-up actions to meet the 2030 targets.

To this end, he said, prioritising human capital development was non-negotiable, stressing that there was the need to increase access to quality education with overarching emphasis or focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education while promoting the arts and hu­manities to boost critical thinking, creativity, and leadership skills.

Touching on other areas of his four-point agenda, he said, in ad­dition to prioritising human capital development, there was the need to focus on unlocking financing for accelerated SDGs implementation.

He said that while Africa re­mained committed to the SDGs, the present financing gap made it difficult to achieving the goals.

President Akufo-Addo explained that the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimated that Africa required an additional $1.3 trillion annually to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

President Akufo-Addo said curbing illicit financial flows, which cost Africa an estimated $90 billion annually alone would enable the continent retain valuable resources within her economies.

In addition to this, he empha­sised the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in bridging the financing gap and called for the cre­ation of an enabling environment through smart policies to attract pri­vate capital for critical infrastructure projects in the area of 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 President said there was the need for a paradigm shift in the global financial architecture adding that “There is the need for a com­prehensive debt relief for heavily indebted countries to restore fiscal stability and free up resources for sustainable development invest­ments.”

He said Africa must build resilient infrastructure to withstand global shocks and stressing that “The vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolit­ical tensions, called for the develop­ment of reliable infrastructure to support diverse economic activities.

“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,” he emphasised.

On her part the Assistant Secre­tary-General and Director, Regional Service Centre for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Ms Ahuma Eziakonwa, called for the need for the continent to scale-up its efforts at achieving the SDGs.

She said with barely seven years to the end of the targets, only 15per cent of the goals had been reached by most countries with some as low as 12 per cent.

Ms Eziakonwa said the situation made it imperative for all stake­holders to put in the needed efforts towards the attainment of the goals.

In his welcome address the Special Advisor to President Akufo-Addo on SDGs, Dr Eugene Owusu, called on global leaders to double down on their efforts to­wards the attainment of the SDGs by 2030.

He said this had become nec­essary because despite the SDGs going past its mid-point of the time frame for implementation not much had been achieved.

“At the mid-point of the SDGs implementation, our calculations are that less than four percent of the SDG targets were on track to be achieved by 2030 by Africa,” he said.

Dr Owusu explained that the UN summit would aim at turbocharg­ing actions on the SDGs as well as build a consensus on delivering a better today whilst safeguarding the future.


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