The Youth Empowerment Synergy (YES-Ghana), represented by Obaa Akua Konadu, Policy and Advocacy Manager, participated in a public lecture delivered at the University of Ghana by Her Majesty Queen Mathilde of Belgium, one of the seventeen Eminent Advocates of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The public lecture was delivered on Friday February 9, 2018 as part of her visit to Ghana, in the company of the Vice Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo. Her lecture was on the topic “The SDGs: A Transformative Agenda for the Future we Want”. In attendance was the President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In his remarks, President Akufo-Addo stated that the achievement of the SDGs is key to Africa’s development. “We must succeed in removing millions of people out of poverty, protect our planet, and provide hope of a secured future to the teeming youth in the world, who have the greatest stake in the SDGs. And this is exactly what I am firmly committed to championing, as Co-Chair of the Advocates”, he stated. He further reiterated his commitment of moving Ghana, and by extension Africa beyond aid. He stated “we cannot grow out of poverty and achieve the SDGs through charity and the benevolence of others. If we are going to succeed to move Africa Beyond Aid, this cannot be a mere slogan. It will take adopting more effective and appropriate development model, doing business differently, and making the tough choices necessary to accelerate inclusive growth in the economy”. President Akufo-Addo also noted that African countries can eradicate poverty if accountable and transparent governments are built.
Queen Mathilde asserted that the agenda 2030 (SDGs) is an indeed ambitious drive towards achieving sustainable development and ensuring that no one is left behind in the process. Due to her interest in education, she stressed the need for government to focus on ensuring access to all, which she referred to as a fundamental element that will determine the successful implementation of the SDGs. Her Majesty stressed the importance of having adequate and modern educational infrastructure, as well as good quality teachers. She also highlighted the role of digital infrastructure in e-learning. She stated e-learning opportunities expands access to education for all. She charged the youth to integrate the SDGs in their daily lives, as they are crucial to the achievement of the SDGs. She challenged them to read widely, think critically, ask questions and be innovative, to be able to find solutions to current problems
The Vice Prime Minister of Belgium commended the effort of the president of championing gender equality in Africa.