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The SDG Investments Africa Needs

Global discord represents another obstacle to Africa's ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. But the continent can still play a major role in fulfilling the United Nations' 2030 Agenda – especially if it makes further progress on tackling epidemics and strengthening national health-care systems.

GENEVA – The late Michael Elliott, the former president and CEO of the anti-poverty advocacy organization ONE, described the year 2015 as the most pivotal since 1945 in terms of humanity coalescing in pursuit of a common aim. In 1945, the world was searching for peace; 70 years later, it agreed on a roadmap toward a better, more prosperous future in the form of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

By 2016, however, the global coalition started to crack and suffer setbacks. There have even been attempts to retreat from some of the SDGs and their targets – such as tackling climate change or promoting open trade. For Africa, this global discord represents another obstacle to achieving the SDGs. But the continent can still play a major role in meeting them – especially if it makes further progress in tackling epidemics and strengthening national health-care systems.

After all, Africa has been one of the world’s faster-growing regions in recent years. Although this growth is volatile and uneven, the steady reduction in poverty on the continent is real. So are the increases in life expectancy and the decreasing number of deaths from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and other diseases.

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