What is the impact of COVID-19 on the development of African nations? This was the main deliberation during this year’s Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development that took place recently in Brazzaville, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
During the forum, the seventh since its inauguration, delegates acknowledged the severity with which many countries in the region have been hit by the covid-19 crisis, so badly that the hard-won development gains may have been jeopardized. The delegates noted that the coronavirus pandemic is exerting so much strain on a region that is already feeling the impact of other threats like climate change.
Addressing the forum, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe indeed disclosed that 5-9% of Africa’s GDP is lost to climate disasters every year.
“This year’s forum will be discussing ways in which we can build forward better, ways in which we can build forward greener because a resilient Africa creates more jobs for women and youth and has a lot more jobs for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)”. She remarked
According to Ms. Songwe, a resilient Africa is Africa where the energy is cleaner, greener, more sustainable, and more affordable. It is at this point that she delivered a rallying call especially to the international community to support the green recovery efforts since “financing the green recovery is financing Africa’s future and helping build towards a prosperous Africa by 2030.”
The forum also discussed how internet connectivity and digital platforms can help make Africa more resilient as well as provide specific solutions to the challenges facing the continent.
This year’s forum, hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, is the seventh session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development and it brought together delegates from the continent that included high-level participants drawn from African governments and development organizations, convened under the theme, ‘’Building forward better; Towards a resilient and green Africa to achieve the Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063.’’
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals, were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030 hence the title Agenda 2030. Through the pledge to Leave No One Behind, countries have committed to fast-track progress for those furthest behind first.
AGENDA 2063 on the other hand is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. It encapsulates not only Africa’s aspirations for the Future but also identifies key Flagship Programmes which can boost Africa’s economic growth and development and lead to the rapid transformation of the continent.