Presidents Kagame, Akufo-Addo on what it takes to achieve SDGs

President Paul Kagame and his Ghanaian counterpart Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have underlined what is needed for developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
L-R - Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Laureate, UN SDGs Advocate and Director; President Kagame; President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana; Dr Alaa Murabit, the voice of Libyan Women on ....
L-R - Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Laureate, UN SDGs Advocate and Director; President Kagame; President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana; Dr Alaa Murabit, the voice of Libyan Women on ....

President Paul Kagame and his Ghanaian counterpart Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have underlined what is needed for developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking yesterday at the ongoing high-level Africa roundtable on SDGs in Ghana’s capital Accra, President Kagame said that there is room for everyone’s commitment, right from private to public sector players, for the development goals to be achieved.

“We need to involve everyone. We have all made commitments and statements of understanding on what needs to be done and we need to follow these up with actions. It can be done and we have seen it being done. We need to accelerate what we are all doing,” Kagame said.

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President Kagame inspects a guard of honour mounted by the Ghana Armed Forces on arrival in the West African nation yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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President Kagame observing the national anthems of both Rwanda and Ghana at the airport ahead of the high-level on SDGs in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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President Kagame was received at Accra Kotoka International Airport with a bouquet of flowers yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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President Kagame upon arrival at the airport in Accra ahead of the major meeting on SDGs yesterday. / Village Urugwiro

The President observed that there is a shared gap in African leadership that hinders growth in SDGs and argued that its high time leaders took charge of African problems and seek solutions without necessarily relying on external influence.

“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.

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Goal 4 of SDGs is about ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promotion of lifelong learning. / File
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Presidents Kagame and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU Commission chairperson, in the Ghanaian capital of Accra where they discussed the role of leaders in promoting Sustainable Development Goals yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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President Kagame, and his host, President Akufo-Addo, at the Roundtable on MDGs in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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Kagame is received by Ghanaian officials at Accra Kotoka International Airport yesterday. / Village Urugwiro

On his part, Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said that as African leaders attempt to confront challenges facing their respective countries and Africa at large, there are “great prospects” in using SDGs to open up for all citizens, “and do so in away that leave no one behind.”

The two-day meeting is hosted by President Akufo-Addo, who who is the co-chair of the Eminent Group of Advocates, along with Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway.

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President Kagame meets with the AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat in Ghana yesterday. Kagame, who is spearheading an ongoing AU reform process, is scheduled to assume the chairmanship of African Union next month. / Village Urugwiro
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President Kagame in a group photo with other officials, including AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat (second left) and Rwanda’s Ambassador to Ghana Stanislas Kamanzi (right) in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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Presidents Paul Kagame and his host, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat at the high-level roundtable on SDGs in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro

Public-private partnerships key

Speaking at the initial opening session of a high-level Africa roundtable on SDGs, held under the theme “Mobilising Support and Accelerating growth of SDGs”, President Kagame noted that developing countries need to embrace public-private partnerships if the world is to achieve the global transformational agenda.

Kagame said that for the SDGs to fully fit into poverty eradication plans for most developing countries, strong collaboration between governments and the private sectors is critical.

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A cultural troupe welcomes President Kagame on his arrival at Accra Kotoka International Airport in Ghana yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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President Kagame shortly after arriving at Accra Kotoka International Airport ahead of the high-level forum on SDGs in the Ghanaian capital yesterday. / Village Urugwiro

He said that once this aspect is well exploited, nations would easily reach the new targets and transform the lives of people.

“There are two main aspects of the SDGs that constitute an improvement from our experience with the MDGs,” Kagame said.

“First is the 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.”

The SDGs are a comprehensive set of 17 goals which seek to go beyond the past accomplishments of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to create a sustainable world by 2030.

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Presidents Kagame and Akufo-Addo, along with other panelists, took part in the Presidential Forum, under the theme: What would it take for the SDGs to happen? The role of leadership”, in the Ghanaian capital Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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Presidents Kagame and Akufo-Addo at the high-level roundtable on SDGs in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, the Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University and UN SDGs Eminent Advocate, speaks at the forum in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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President Akufo-Addo speaks at the forum in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro

The goals were officially adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at the UN General Assembly.

“Integrating the SDGs into these plans and ensuring their implementation cannot be successfully achieved by government alone. This is why strong collaboration with the private sector is critical for reaching a win-win situation,” Kagame said.

The financing gaps for major projects, Kagame noted, can be filled by private sector investment through appropriate de-risking mechanisms provided by the public sector and other partners.

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AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat speaks during the session highlighting the role of leadership in the achievement of SDGs, in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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Dr Alaa Murabit, the voice of Libyan Women on UN SDGs Advocate addresses the forum in Ghana yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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Lamin Momodou Manneh, the Director of the UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, addresses the meeting in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro

The President also observed that SDGs are rather an “ambitious framework”, hence global partnerships between developing and developed countries would go a long way in bridging the gap to address the issues for which the development agenda was devised.

“We have an ambitious development framework to engage all countries rather than just developing ones, especially knowing that there are cross-cutting issues that affect everyone.

“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,” the Head of State added.

Following the opening the session, President Kagame participated in the Presidential panel discussion on “What would it take for SDGs to happen: The role of leadership”, along with his host, President Akufo-Addo. As part of his intervention, President Kagame spoke about the causes of the collective gaps in African leadership, in regards to achieving SDGs. “The continent needs to work together to mobilise resources, especially financial resources and people. Each country also needs its own champions to build consensus and drive results. They should be inclusive of private sector, women and young people represented.”

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A section of delegates at the high-level roundtable on Sustainable Development Goals in Accra yesterday. / Village Urugwiro
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Finance and Economic Planning minister Claver Gatete (left) is among the officials that accompanied President Kagame to Accra for the high-level forum on SDGs. / Village Urugwiro

Speaking on the conversation around aid, President Kagame said: “I don’t think that people have dismissed aid as not necessary, conversations have been around the fact that aid is not enough.

‘‘The conversation on how we use aid to build capacity or for investment, I think is a fair conversation.”

Joining the Presidents on the panel were; Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU Commission chairperson; Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, the Director, Earth Institute at Columbia University and UN SDGs Eminent Advocate; Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Laureate, UN SDGs Advocate and Director; and Dr Alaa Murabit, the voice of Libyan Women on UN SDGs Advocate.

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