By Idowu Adbullahi,
United Nations Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mahommed, has decried the slow pace of poverty reduction in Africa, adding that persisting inequalities and prevalence of inadequate access to basic necessities were huge concerns which had seen little to no reduction over the years.
According to her, the slow pace in reduction of poverty, had rendered achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) totally elusive, saying that development remained a call to action for stakeholders in tackling challenges headlong.
Mohammed expressed concerns that, inspite of the continent’s wealth of resources and in its people, Africa still struggled with making advances in major areas of development.
Speaking during opening ceremony of Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD 2020) in Zambia, she lauded the productive relationship between the United Nations and the African Union, saying that both institutions had continued to work together in tackling challenges affecting the continent, which included poverty, hunger, unemployment and conflict.
Mohammed stated that such partnerships were necessary to move the continent forward till it could attain development milestones on its own, or with minimal help.
“The region has the highest prevalence of hunger, with the rate increasing from 18.3 per cent in 2015 to 19.9 per cent in 2018. This means that almost 40 million Africans, especially women and children, went hungry during this period,”
According to the deputy general secretary, increasing trends of hunger, drought and poverty was exacerbated by the impact of climate change on the continent with nearly 22.8 million people now severely food insecure in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
She noted that, some of the challenges risking the continent’s efforts to leverage democratic dividends, would be surmounted if the AU and the UN strengthened their partnership and work hard to create decent jobs for youths and also ensure that there is gender equality.
Mohammed said that although Africa had made notable progress in education, health and other social areas, the continent was not on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030, and the key goals of Agenda 2063.
“We must support governments to ensure their broader national development plans and financing frameworks correspond to the magnitude of the change needed to deliver by 2030”.
On his part, the African Union Commission’s Deputy Chairperson, Thomas Kwesi, said the special RCM-Africa session was intended to feed into the institutional principles of harmonized working methods and consultation between the AU and the UN development frameworks for Africa.
Kwesi said that energies of Africa’s youth needed to be usefully channelled through education, science and technology, health and employment, directing such away from conflict in order to effect sustainable development on the continent.
“That is the central problem that connects the AU agenda 2063 and the UN SGD 2030; that is where our two agendas resonate and are mutually reinforcing, we have no time to waste. Time and tide wait for no man, more so for our youth and our women”.