Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, calls for the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, and highlights key development challenges that need to be addressed to progress the continent’s sustainable development agenda.
In 2015, world leaders marked the 70th anniversary of the United Nations by adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Agenda 2030. We committed ourselves to an ambitious and transformative global development programme that seeks to address the triple challenge of this century, which is poverty, unemployment and inequality.
To a great extent, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) played a critical role in galvanising governments and communities all over the world to put in place programmes and policies aimed at poverty eradication and in addressing socio-economic development, particularly in Africa. It is a well-known reality that our continent, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, did not achieve the targets that were set in the MDGs. It was for this reason that we insisted that the SDGs should continue the unfinished business of the MDGs. We have an interest, therefore, in ensuring the full implementation of the SDGs, as we take forward the agenda of promoting Africa’s sustainable development.
We have made significant strides in the past couple of decades in reversing the impact of underdevelopment and the legacies of colonialism and apartheid in Africa. If the African continent is to develop faster, we need to address certain constraints. These include inadequate infrastructure, the high dependency on primary products, high exposure to commodity price volatility, limited investment in research and development, science, innovation and technology, low private sector investment as well as the need to continue improving skills…
former President of South Africa