President Paul Kagame has called on the African Union (AU) to focus on financing key private sector projects to ensure citizen participation for the continent to achieve planned Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The president is in Accra – Ghana where he is attending a High Level Africa Roundtable meeting on mobilizing support and accelerating implementation of the SDGS.
Attending are also Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat and co-chair Prime Minister Erna Solberg among other high profile delegates.
Using his experience in Rwanda, Kagame said that the first step the continent needs to make is “to put strong emphasis on the private sector as an engine to eliminate poverty and create wealth, objectives that are at the heart of most of our national plans.”
He said that integrating the SDGs into existing plans and ensuring their implementation cannot be successfully achieved by governments alone, which in itself calls for strong collaboration with the private sector to have a win-win situation.
“The financing gaps for major projects can be filled by private sector investment through appropriate de-risking mechanisms provided by the public sector and other partners,” Kagame said.
Kagame also suggests that the second move should be an ambitious development framework to engage all countries rather than just developing ones especially on cross cutting issues that affect everyone globally.
“This provides new scope for productive global partnerships and learning. This could include reaching consensus on how to measure progress and support implementation in ways that are most relevant for our respective national contexts,” he said.
By 2030, African countries have to work towards attaining 17 SDGs like eradicate extreme poverty, end hunger, energy for all, inclusive sustainable growth- among other goals which were carried on from Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that ended in 2015.
Rwanda is host to the SDGs Center for Africa. The center was established to facilitate coordination and advocacy and to help building capacity to implement the SDGs.
In this regard, Kagame said that Rwanda is determined to support the initiative and invited other African countries to do the same.
During a panel discussion entitled “What would it take for the SDGs to happen: The role of leadership” Kagame said that Africa should take charge of its shared gaps in leadership that hinder growth.
“It all starts with ownership and we have to take charge of our own problems. We have partners and friends that are willing to help, but we must not accept that they do everything for us,” he said.
Kagame also reminded Africans that the continent needs to work together to mobilize resources, especially financial resources and its people to ensure self-sustainability.
He however noted that while no one has dismissed that aid is necessary for development discussions have highlighted that it is not enough, which he believes is a fair argument.