ADDIS ABABA, A new report says that Africa made slow progress in reducing poverty and inequality owing to limited decent employment opportunities and weak social insurance mechanisms.
It called for a harmonised and integrated approach to Agenda 2063 and Agenda 2030, as well as for African governments to tackle inequality in tandem.
The report titled 2017 Africa Sustainable Development Report: Tracking Progress on Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development was launched jointly by the African Development Bank (AfDB), African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for African (ECA), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It was launched during the 12th African Economic Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme Governance for Structural Transformation.
In his keynote address during the launch, Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu, Economic Advisor to the President of Nigeria, noted that achieving the Millennium Development Goals will require Africa to accelerate her gains in overcoming extreme poverty, reducing inequality and increasing strategic investments in agriculture.
Positive strides have been made in Africa, but more still needs to be done. It is clear that Africa needs to focus on reducing inequality and eradicate extreme poverty. This can be achieved by increasing incomes made by household farmers, strengthening infrastructural development and promoting trade, he said.
In his discussion of the report’s findings, Allan Mukungu of ECA, noted that agricultural added value on the continent is rising at a slow pace due to limited irrigation coverage and declining investments in the sector.
Rising food insecurity and undernourishment are a big concern, considering that 355 million in Africa were moderately or severely food insecure in 2015, he said.
Agriculture production in Africa is rising but remains below the global average. Therefore, improving agriculture production is vital to addressing food security on the continent.
Bartholomew Armah, Chief, Renewal of Planning Section, ECA, pointed out that strengthening capacity and systems for data gathering and management are vital in the fight for Africa’s move towards the realisation of the MDGs.
For timely policy decisions and adequate comparison within and between countries in Africa, the national statistics institutions in each country on the continent require a stronger capability to collect and analyse data on the economic, social and political issues affecting the population, he said.
It is important to generate data for baselines and to continuously assess the impact of policies, and trends in poverty, trade, employment, health, gender equality, agriculture and so on.
Semia Guermas de Tapia of ECA, added that successful implementation of both Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 require strengthened public institutions for a coordinated approach at solving the problems facing the continent.
The role of stronger and capable institutions cannot be emphasised enough; it is key for long-term planning and policy coordination, as well as important in identifying gaps and challenges that affect the pace of advancement, he said.
As the first comprehensive appraisal of its kind since the adoption of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs, the new report acknowledges the region’s significant progress in increasing agricultural value up by 9%.
It also shows that Africa made strides in reducing child and maternal mortality, although it is still high compared to other regions, and HIV infection fell by 62% between 2000 and 2015.
The report draws attention to the low agricultural value in Sub-Saharan Africa, recorded at only 62% of the world average, while only 5% of agricultural land is irrigated, compared to 41% in Asia and 21% globally.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK