ADDIS ABABA – The African Regional Forum for sustainable development opened on Thursday with a reminder for Africa to acknowledge the progress the continent has made towards targets in 2030 and 2063 and to improve upon them.
This year, the annual forum is taking place in Rwanda under the theme ‘Building forward better: A green, inclusive and resilient Africa poised to achieve the SDG 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.’, as per the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
Speaking at the opening, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the ECA, explained that “progress achieved by Africa in the areas of climate change, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the management of COVID-19, and education must be applauded.”
“We are in Rwanda where more than 70% of the population has been vaccinated,” she added.
Despite the tendency for the AfCFTA to be perceived as far-fetched, Songwe said the fact that African countries have traded more among themselves during the pandemic than the five years before that period is a testament to the potential of the partnership.
In other instances, Africa has led the way on the global stage, such as Rwanda’s decision to ban plastic, which is now a commitment made by some 200 countries despite the objections of the petrochemical industry, according to the ECA.
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda shared his hope that Africa will use the pandemic as a “springboard to speed up progress and innovate smarter ways to invest in human capital development.”
He also commended the ECA on its advocacy on the AfCFTA as “a mutually beneficial partnership to strengthen Africa’s capacity to manufacture vaccines and pharmaceuticals” during this pandemic.
The forum is an annual event to review and catalyze actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs and the African Union Agenda 2063.
Featured Image Caption: UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA, Vera Songwe [Photo File]