For those of us who have travelled to Sub-Saharan Africa multiple times we are always impressed with the changes taking place. New buildings, better transportation infrastructure, and increased communications capabilities are just some of the changes I have personally seen. Yet, these changes are happening in selected areas and appear to have little impact outside of the international zones of the metropolitan areas. Of course there are outliers like Rwanda and Kenya, but for the most part Africa has been slow to being able implement the Sustainable Development Goals.
At a recent conference in South Africa organised by Future Earth, South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology, the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa and START, an international climate change think tank, leading sutainability experts tackled the issue of Africa’s failure to be able to implement the SDGs at the same pace as other regions.
Heila Lotz-Sisitka, keynote speaker and a holder of research chair in Transformative Social Learning and Green Skills Learning Pathways, Rhodes University, South Africa, said that although there is a general failure of the Millennium Development Goals, it is important the SGDs are implemented at a local level, specifically in relation to affecting poverty levels.
“One way to approach the SDGs is to examine what is absent,” Lotz-Sisitka said. “One to three per cent of the world’s population owns half of the world’s wealth. We should have a goal on wealth [creation] otherwise we will never have the balance we need for sharing the earth’s resources more equitably.”
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The main challenge in implementing the SDGs in Africa appears to be good governance. African countries lag far behind their counterparts around the world. Of course, once again there are outliers, but for the most part, governance is heavily inefficient. Given the fact that the government is still the safest way to implement development projects such as sustainable energy, transportation infrastructure, and efficient farming, government efficiency is key.
Private Investment Capital Can Trigger Real Growth
What I have noticed from Sub-Saharan Africa is that in many cases the will and the drive are there to develop meaningful change. Furthermore, it is increasingly clear that institutional investments in the form of EU government grants or other v can only do so much and in many cases can set back growth. We have to remember that much of Sub-Saharan-Africa has only recently broken direct colonial bonds and has suffered greatly from neo-colonial policies imposed on it by foreign entities.
While international institutional capital from extra government agencies and philanthropic resources may only encourage dependency. This is why VCs, private investment capital, along with secure pension programs can have a far great effect on many of these local areas in Africa. When there is inbuilt acountability people will perform far better. We are beginning to see this in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Rwanda. The key is replicating what’s working and triggering it at a faster pace.
The time is now for a serious infusion of private equity into the African continent.
- David is SDG-Market's Chief Marketing Officer. He is considered an expert in the Middle East and Sub-Sahara African regions as they relate to indigenous rights and geopolitics. In the past he acted as an advisor to OurCrowd's director of investment community as well as having consulted a variety of fintech and equity level crowdfunding platforms.
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