President Kagame has asked African nations not to see the Sustainable Development Goals as an external agenda, but as an integrated part of a country’s development vision. He made the remarks on Friday at the conference on Sustainable Development Goals for Africa, during which the SDG Centre for Africa, based in Kigali, was launched.
“SDGs offer an opportunity to highlight the importance of good politics as a prerequisite for inclusive and sustainable development. For Rwanda, a participatory approach has been indispensable to the modest progress achieved. But we can all do more and better. It is time to create certainty and build momentum by deciding how to monitor and evaluate progress,” he said.
Kagame observed that all stakeholders should be measured against the same standards and goals.
“The SDG framework is intended to be applicable and relevant to all countries, not just the so-called developing ones,” he pointed out. “But as Africans, we should see this as an unprecedented opportunity to bridge the gap between our current challenges and our ambitions, by doing once and for all the right things, in the right way. We have to ensure that the actions we take contribute to fundamental change in the lives of the people who need it most.”
The President observed that shifting the focus from reducing poverty to building prosperity required collaboration and higher expectations of the private sector, and that there was need to integrate lessons from the MDGs, particularly promoting gender equality and harnessing science and technology.
Kagame added that the SDG Center for Africa would serve as an important focal point for advocacy and coordination.
“Like the SDGs themselves, this institution is a tool to help us get what we really want: results. The solution to funding SDGs has to come from business, philanthropy, government and contributions of the world’s billions of citizens. We all have a role to play and what is really important is cooperation, working closely together to make progress,” he said.
The SDG center for Africa was established by leaders on the continent as an African institution, championing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals along the principles of the AU’s 2063 Agenda.
The center aims at providing technical support, advice and expertise as input to national governments, the private sector, civil society, and academic institutions to accelerate the implementation of the SDG agenda across Africa.