“Africa has the capacity to move towards sustainable development and its integration into the global economy will overcome many of the current obstacles.”
UN Under-Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said she was in Tunisia for the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development.
According to Mohammed, the international community must change its perception of Africa from a dependent continent to a key region on the world stage, with the same rights and position as other continents.
More than 1.2 billion people live in Africa. About 60% of the African population is under 35 years old. The rapid urbanization of African countries promises new opportunities, including in the area of industrialization of the continent.
Amina Mohammed believes that the continent can benefit from the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 for Africa in the future.
The UN representative stressed that, to achieve these goals, the international community must together reduce the consequences of the many crises.
She recalls that the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, the climate emergency and the financial crisis are presenting already vulnerable populations with even greater challenges.
Amina Mohammed added that all crises can create fertile ground to exacerbate existing conflicts and generate unrest, which undermines collective efforts to achieve the SDGs.
The deputy UN chief also spoke about the African Free Trade Area, which contributes to the industrialization, diversification and digitalization of the economies of the countries of the region, as well as to the strengthening of regional cooperation. .
Amina Mohammed called on the international community to work on three fronts that would benefit African economies and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
First, it asserts that universal access to energy and a just and fair transition to renewable energy are necessary. In this context, the UN deputy chief called for an integrated approach to guide Africa’s energy development pathways, based on sustainable investments and strong partnerships.
Today, around 600 million people in Africa face power shortages. This means that the continent will need mechanisms for the development of clean energy sources.
The current rise in energy prices could also incentivize African countries to make the most of the continent’s vast renewable energy potential. But this requires timely large-scale investments.
Second, Africa urgently needs to transform food systems. According to Amina Mohammed, Africa must increase the productivity of agriculture and food systems, use new technologies and modern irrigation systems, achieve agricultural mechanization and reduce post-harvest losses.
The diplomat concluded that Africa’s problems, caused by interconnected crises, will not be solved without tackling inequalities.
The United Nations
Tunisian President Kais Saied met with the Deputy Secretary General and spoke of a new era in the world with Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine, but also in Tunisia with a new Constitution which will establish better accountability for everyone and society. rights for its people.
He acknowledged that the UN plays an important role as a united nation, nations working together to meet challenges. This is the main aspiration of the Charter of the United Nations.
Amina Mohammed recalled the UN Secretary General’s invitation to the Tunisian President to participate in the next General Assembly and the important Transformative Education Summit.
As a teacher, President Saied could help redefine and rethink education in Africa. The President confirmed his interest in participating and mentioned that it is essential to adapt education to this new era. He said a supreme council for education and learning is foreseen in Tunisia’s new constitution.
The President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Collen Vixen Kelapile, believes that accelerating industrialization and diversification is key to changing the course of Africa. And, for the first time in a generation, the region has taken decisive action and has the leadership to be the authors of its destiny.
In recent statements, Collen Kelapile also cited Agenda 2063 as “pragmatic and achievable,” with concrete 10-year implementation plans.
With the conclusion of the first phase of the agenda next year, the diplomat believes it is “a good time to have a forward-looking dialogue”. Collen Kelapile also commended the active participation of a record number of African countries in the Voluntary National Reviews of the Sustainable Development Goals.
For the diplomat, this is a clear demonstration that the continent is committed to the full realization of Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063, which are mutually reinforcing and complementary.
Domestic resources and regional integration On financing for development, particularly domestic resource mobilization, Collen Kelapile said that Africa’s investment needs to achieve the SDGs were estimated at $200 billion per year before the crises.
With the pandemic and the financing gap, it has increased by more than 145 billion dollars, according to the index of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As for regional integration: the African Continental Free Trade Area foresees a market of 1.3 billion people, with a combined GDP of $3.4 billion, which can make Africa a true global partner .
According to the ECOSOC President, the most recent estimates from the World Bank and the Free Trade Area Secretariat indicate that, when fully implemented, the bloc could increase the continent’s real income by 9 % by 2035 and lift 50 million more people out of extreme poverty.
Collen Kelapile points out that while Africa is home to 17% of the world’s population, it is only responsible for around 3.8% of global carbon emissions.
Yet the continent is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of global warming in the form of more extreme weather, which leads to more pressures on access to resources and leads to a vicious cycle of conflict and unrest with negative repercussions for the rest. of the world.
However, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) estimates that Africa receives only 5% of total financial flows for climate investments. Collen Kelapile recalled that during COP26, African negotiators proposed a target of $1.3 billion in financial flows from 2025 to meet the challenges of climate change.
The diplomat ended with the issue of empowering future generations and women, recalling that no one can be left behind in achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda. For the President of ECOSOC, investments in capital Human resources and training are essential to ensure that “every African citizen has the opportunity to earn a fair income, live a healthy life and contribute to society”.
Amina Mohammed said the United Nations shares the vision outlined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, of a continent shaped by its own narrative, informed by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force on the global stage.
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Picture: © 2022 Mark Garten