Africa asked to focus on SDGs 2 and 7 to ensure economic growth

President Mahama at the UN General Assembly
President Mahama at the UN General Assembly

President John Dramani Mahama has asked African countries to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 and 7, as those would provide the continent with the needed impetus for economic growth and transformation.

The world last week approved 17 SDGs.

Goal 2 says End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote and Goal 7 says, Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

President Mahama argued that the green revolution has never really taken off in Africa, and yet Africa has a significant proportion of the world’s remaining arable lands.

“With improved seeds, fertilisers, appropriate technology, and agricultural extension advice, we would not only increase agricultural productivity in Africa, but we will also provide jobs for the growing population of young people,” he said.

This will also fit hand in glove with an expansion of agro processing and agribusiness for which Africa has a comparative advantage, he added.

President Mahama who was speaking Sunday September 27, 2015 at the UN Summit for the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in New York, USA, indicated that the focus on access to sustainable and modern energy in Goal 7 emphasises the situation in Africa today, where the shortage of power remains a major constraint to the continent’s economic development.

“I speak for Ghana as an example where two decades of consistent positive economic growth, has led to an average 10 to 12 per cent annual increase in demand for power. This has caused demand for electricity to exceed supply. To keep our system running, we have resorted to the implementation of a load management system.

We have put in place a programme to introduce emergency generation into the transmission system, but are mindful to ensure that we use as much clean energy sources as possible to the benefit of our current and future generations,” he said.

The president noted that the adoption on Friday of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which comprises seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a major rededication of the world, to the commitment to fighting growing inequality, wiping out extreme poverty, and tackling the issues of climate change over the next 15 years.

“The adoption of the new Goals at a time the United Nations turns 70, provides a level of hope to young people of the world that after decades of being in existence, the UN is still alive to the challenges of today’s world,” he said.

He said what was adopted, and referred to simply as the SDGs is perhaps the most ambitious, transformational development ever attempted in the history of the United Nations.

“We must tackle these challenges identified in the 17 goals as a matter of urgency, and we can also seize the opportunity offered by the adoption of the SDGs to tackle the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.

He urged that in pursuing the SDGs, it is important for the world to redefine a new paradigm of development.

“The current high consumption of wasteful societies we classify as developed cannot be the model for sustainable development. If the current attraction of the big cities of the so-called developed world, such as shopping malls bursting at the seams with all kinds of consumer goods, glitzy neon lighting and fast food franchises are the standard to be classified as developed, then we will need two more planets, the size of our earth, to maintain and sustain the human race. The world’s resources are not infinite,” he said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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