ECA’s Biha calls for bold actions to close poverty gap in Africa

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly agreed on a collection of 17 global goals to be attained by the year 2030. They were called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs are a global agenda with a vision of ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

The 17 SDGs and 169 targets are part of the 2030 Agenda which recognizes “that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.”

Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Deputy Executive Secretary, Giovanie Biha, Thursday said the continent was running out of time to ensure the successful implementation of the SDGs. She called for bold actions by African leaders to ensure no one is left behind by development processes.

“This is a watershed moment for the continent. Challenges and opportunities present themselves to us in equal measure and we need to rise to the challenge, especially as we implement the SDGs,” said Biha in her closing remarks to the fifth Africa Regional Forum for Sustainable Development in Marrakesh.

Of Africa, Biha said “time is not our side and the need to close to the poverty gap has never been stronger than now, especially given our growing youthful population”.

‘No poverty’ is the first SDG, through which the United Nations is hoping member nations would ensure economic growth is inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality. However, Africa has not been able to substantially reduce the rate of poverty on the continent. Of the world’s 28 poorest countries, 27 are in sub-Saharan Africa all with a poverty rate above 30 percent. In Nigeria alone, close to 90 million people are living in extreme poverty.

Biha expressed hope that the forum with over 800 hundred participants from 51 countries has energized participants to commit to supporting the attainment of Africa’s development agendas.

“Let us move from policies and strategies to implementation and execution. It’s also a call to all governments and their partners to put the means, mobilize and allocate adequate resources in support of these SDGs and Agenda 2063,” Biha said.