Africa Day 2016 is being celebrated in furtherance of the African Union’s theme for this year: “Human Rights with a Particular Focus on the Rights of Women”. This demonstrates the commitment of Africa’s leaders to place women – as key drivers and enablers – at the front and centre of all efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Both frameworks share similar strategic principles, with a focus on people, prosperity, environmental sustainability, justice, human rights and mutually accountable partnerships. The alignment between the global and the continental agendas calls for a harmonized approach in planning, implementation and monitoring.
Under Agenda 2063, Africa’s priorities include investing in its people, with an emphasis on women and youth; developing manufacturing and agro-processing; building transport, water, sanitation, energy and ICT infrastructure; domestic resource mobilization and stemming illicit financial flows; ending conflict; promoting human rights; and expanding democratic governance. Africa also has the opportunity to pursue industrialization in a more environmentally sustainable manner, including through climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy and arresting deforestation. I encourage African nations and their partners to spare no effort in advancing these priorities. The United Nations is committed in its support.
Africa’s economic prospects are good, despite the uncertain global economic landscape. Growth is projected to increase to 4.4 per cent in 2016, from 3.7 percent in 2015. I urge Africa’s leaders to use these gains to address rising social and economic inequalities, and ensure that no African is left behind. This is crucial for tackling root causes of conflicts, terrorism and violent extremism, and fostering peace and stability. I also commend Africa’s bold initiative on “Silencing the Guns by 2020”, which is one of the flagship projects of Agenda 2063’s First Ten-Year Implementation Plan.
The successful implementation of these new agendas will require a renewed partnership for development cooperation among African governments, UN entities, the African Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency, the Regional Economic Communities and the development partners. The private sector also has a key role to play in creating jobs, promoting innovation in technologies and services, and supporting the massive infrastructure transition needed to fulfil Africa’s sustainable development objectives.
On this Africa Day, I urge all stakeholders to rally behind the transformative vision set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063. What is good for Africa is good for the world.