Many African countries have expressed dissatisfaction with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) put in place many years ago to assist in economic development around the world. These countries have decided to replace the MDGs with a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In a conference held on June 3 in Ethiopia, the African Union Commission declared that the most important piece of their new ideology must be that the continent remains united in their goals. The consensus document created at the meeting reads, “We therefore commit ourselves to speak with one voice and to act in unity to ensure that Africa’s voice is heard and is fully integrated into the global development agenda.”
The new agenda is divided into six main goals: structural economic transformation and inclusive growth; science, technology and innovation; people-centered development; environmental sustainability, natural resources and disaster management; peace and security; and finance and partnerships.
An overarching objective of the SDGs is to bring people out of poverty and prevent those who are vulnerable from entering into poverty. The big change from what the Millennium Development Goals emphasized is to look past foreign aid and begin to rapidly develop African economic systems.
To make these changes, the African Union Commission wants to find alternative funding from the current sources and begin raising money from the private sector.
Within its main goals, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to modernize the agriculture sector. It also seeks commitments to empower women, vulnerable groups, disabled and children and to eliminate gender-based imbalances on wages.
The African Union Commission hopes to take a qualitative approach to development, ensuring that resources are being used appropriately and that each decision made adds value to the plan.
African countries are optimistic that by joining together, this new agenda will be effective in reaching their goals. The continent hopes to become a competitor in the world, and the Sustainable Development Goals will bring them significantly closer.
– Hannah Cleveland
Sources: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, African Manager