AFRICA – The African Development and the United Nations convened a meeting with African heads of states and governments to emphasize the need for urgent collective action in the implementation of sustainable development goals in the continent.

Africa, with an estimated 390 million people living in extreme poverty, hunger and food insecurity, is in a race against time to deliver on its regional and global development goals.

The meeting was held in September this year at UN Headquarters in New York, United States during the UN General Assembly as a side-line event.

African Leaders spoke of what had worked in their countries – including mainstreaming development goals into national plans and scaling up initiatives of development goals at national, regional and global levels

While addressing the delegates at the meeting, UN deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed said that the African Development Bank had a crucial role to play in helping the continent achieve its Goal.

She also noted that AfDB needed support from other stakeholders as the investment requirements in the continent were vast.

Speaking at the meeting, the President of the African Development Bank said that he was fully convinced that with a change of pace, driven by a greater sense of urgency, and global collective responsibility, Africa can still achieve the SDGs.

Areas for potential collaboration include climate change in Africa, gender mainstreaming and promoting private sector investment.

The African Continental Free Trade Area, which came into force this year and creates the world’s largest free trade zone, will be another major area for collaboration under the partnership.

Ambitious development initiatives undertaken by the Bank with regional collaboration are already showing success.

The Desert to Power, which aims to provide access to electricity for 250 million people across the 11 countries of the Sahel, 90 million of them through off-grid systems is a good example of such projects.

The two-hour meeting, moderated by the African Development Bank, was attended by seven African presidents – from Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea, Ethiopia and Lesotho, in addition to representatives of some 30 governments.