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Kagame ready to lead Africa on SDGs

President Kagame, President Patrice Talon of Benin (L), Jeffery Sachs (2nd R) Finance minister Claver Gatete (3rd L), and Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote (2nd L). Courtesy photo
President Kagame, President Patrice Talon of Benin (L), Jeffery Sachs (2nd R) Finance minister Claver Gatete (3rd L), and Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote (2nd L). Courtesy photo

President Paul Kagame on Sept. 20, while speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, appealed to fellow leaders to foster inclusive growth and prosperity of all citizens. Kagame was chairing the 3rd board meeting for the SDG Center for Africa when he made the remarks, writes Independent Correspondent & Agencies.

He appealed to the leaders to support the Social Development Goals (SDG) whose global headquarters is currently based in in Kigali for the next 14 years.

“We are keen to work closely with all of you, to mobilise the support, commitment and enthusiasm needed for Africa to maximise the benefits of this important agreement,” he said. “We have a lot to share about what works in improving the lives of our citizens.”

The African centre of excellence for SDGs was announced by Prof Jeffrey Sachs, the Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University in the U.S. in 2015.

The event took place at an international conference for Sustainable Development held at Columbia University, USA under the theme; “Implementing the SDGs: Getting Started”.

The two day conference was attended by leaders in various fields who discussed practical, evidence-based solutions that could support the SDGs. Prof. Sachs, as chief advisor to the UN secretary General said Rwanda suited the role because of its policies and political will to implement the SDGs.

At the time, President Kagame explained that development happens when citizens are convinced about the logic and pace of change. “When citizens are on board, they do the work themselves, unaffected by the many generalisations made about them out there,” he told the audience at Columbia University.

The SDGs were adopted by UN member states at the Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September, 2015. Also called the `2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ they include a set of 17 SDGs grouped under ending poverty, fighting inequality and injustice, and tackling climate change by 2030. All 193 UN Member States endorsed them.

In the recent New York meeting was President Patrice Talon of Benin, President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, and President Alpha Conde of Guinea Conakry. Jeffery Sachs; an American economist and director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University, Rwanda’s Finance minister Claver Gatete, and Nigerian tycoon Aliko Dangote were also present.

Dangote is co-chair of the board. Prof. Sachs is a renowned American economist who was at the centre of implementing the Millennium Villages Projects, which were set up in different countries, including Rwanda.

President Kagame told them to always focus on Africa’s common development goals. “The Global Goals add value to our respective national development plans, andAfrica’s efforts to foster inclusive growth and prosperity,” he said.

He said citizens and the private sector must play a leading role in achieving the SDGs.

President Kagame said although Rwanda has a stellar record in implementing the Millennium Development Goals, which were the precursor of the SDGs, the country was still open to learning.

“We want to learn from innovations and successes in other sectors, and other parts of the world,” he said.

He emphasized the role of citizen ownership and involvement, gender equality, increased collaboration with the private sector, and technology to achieving the SDGs.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) comprised eight anti-poverty targets that the world committed to achieving by 2015.

They were adopted in 2000 with a view of ridding the world of poverty, hunger, and disease. Other targets included eradicating gender inequality, and improving access to water and sanitation.

Before they elapsed in 2015, a lot of the targets had been achieved. Rwanda was chosen to host the SDG center for Africa after exhibiting high performance in the implementation of the MDGs. The country performed extraordinarily on reducing child mortality rates, improving maternal health and education for all, and promoting gender equality and empowering women.

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