The High Level African Roundtable on Mobilizing Support And Accelerating Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held on 11-12 December 2017 at the Kempinski Hotel. The event was organised by the SDG Office at the Presidency (Ghana) and under the distinguished patronage of the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame; various heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of various government as well as representation from the private sector and civil society drawn from beyond Africa. Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana) was invited as part of the SDG Youth Advocates delegation and was represented by Obaa Akua Konadu, the Policy and Advocacy Manager.
YES-Ghana participated in the event on the second day, Tuesday December 12, 2017, with themes such as “Partnerships and the SDGs”, “The Private Sector and the SDGs”, “Achieving the SDGS: The Role of Data Technology and Innovation” and “Empowerment of Women and the SDGs”.
On partnerships and the SDGs, perspectives were taken from government, civil society and the private sector shared insights on existing opportunities that can be harnessed to foster stronger collaborations. These collaboration were considered relevant in working towards the achievement of the goals at all levels and also ensuring that no one is left behind.
Concerning the private sector and the SDGs, the Vice President of Ghana, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia opined that ‘achieving the SDGs would benefit both the private sector, who would have a healthy, skilled work force, and governments which would have fulfilled its obligation to the citizenry to provide a safe, healthy and economically sound environment for growth’.
Ghana’s apparent poorly developed statistical system was topical on the role of data technology and innovation in the achievement of the SDGs. However, Africa was challenged to build robust data systems with high-end technology to aid the continent keep track of progress with the achievement of the SDGs on annual basis and throughout the implementation period of the goals.
The empowerment of women on the continent is one that has been touted as one of the useful ways of spurring and sustaining economic growth in Africa. The importance of men and boys in ensuring that Goal 5 (Gender Equality) is achieved was discussed in detail. Governments and other stakeholders were charged to tear down those cultural barriers that work against the rights and freedoms of women and girls across the continent.
President Akufo-Addo in his closing remarks stated that regardless the challenges “we must use the SDGs to propel Africa Beyond Aid. We must use the SDGs ultimately to change the narrative on Africa. And we can.”