President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has called on African leaders to ‘dismantle’ any cumbersome business processes and unfavourable policies to unleash private capital and expertise in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Africa needs a strong and vibrant private sector to boost its economy. A strong and vibrant private sector has the space to grow. We must dismantle anything that impedes progress of the private sector,” he said.
The President made this statement at the High-Level Roundtable on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held in Accra.
The event was organised by the government of Ghana in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and government of Norway.
According to the President Akufo-Addo, Africa has the knowledge, resources and talent needed to transition from poverty to prosperity, adding that it however takes a different kind of leadership – one that is selfless and empowered, including smart and progressive policies, innovative approaches, smart and strategic partnerships, and fully unleashes the private sector’s potential.
He said that the continent, now more than ever, needs governments that are accountable and transparent institutions.
“The story of Africa’s hitherto inability to develop is primarily the story of bad governance and our damaging colonial heritage. We must make government and our governance systems work for the eradication of poverty to the creation of prosperity and wealth,” he said.
Africa is the poorest-performing continent in achieving the SDGs, even though Ghana has made some major progressive strides. In view of this, a 15-member Inter-Ministerial Committee is to be set up next September to implement the SDGs.
As co-Chair of the SDGs Advocates Group, the President noted that: “The deficit in human development is highest on our continent. This can be stopped if Africa pursues implementation of the SDGs with a strong sense of urgency and commitment to act now, because we do not have the luxury of time considering the pressing issues of unemployment, climate change and poverty”.
According to the president, Africa must have bold ambitions, be creative and innovative in order to fully achieve the SDGs. He noted that if Africa invests in its people and takes a different approach to doing business – devoid of over-reliance on foreign aid, the aim of achieving the SDGs will be accomplished.
The SDG advocates are to promote the universal character of the SDGs, including their commitment to leaving no one behind; promote the engagement of new stakeholders in implementing and financing the SDGs; encourage partnerships with government, civil society and the private sector to share knowledge and resources; and raise awareness of the SDGs’ integrated nature.
The overarching objective of the Roundtable is to mobilise regional support for implementation of the SDGs, and to propose the practical, smart and innovative actions needed to underpin accelerated implementation of the SDGs at both the regional and country levels.
The two-day event, held under the theme ‘Financing the SDGs: The Resources Challenge, Domestic Financing and Innovative Approaches’, brought together distinguished African leaders, a core group of SDGs advocates, senior leadership of the United Nations, the African Development Bank, multilateral institutions, the private sector, policymakers, and thought-leaders from Africa.
Also present at the event was the Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia; President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame; newly-elected chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mustapha Aki Mohammed; and world-acclaimed economist, Professor Jeffery Sachs.