The Sustainable Development Goals refers to a collection of seventeen international objectives which were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly to be achieved by 2030 (Oleribe & Taylor-Robinson, 2016) They are part of Resolution 70/1 of the United Nations General Assembly. Some of the goals include; poverty eradication , eradication of hunger to attain food safety as well as improved diet while enhancing sustainable agriculture, ensuring healthy lives as well as promotion of well-being for every citizen anywhere in the world, provision of inclusive as well as fair quality education for everyone, achieving gender equality access to sustainable water management and sanitation for every citizen ad among others, promotion of continuous and sustainable economic growth as well as decent employment for everyone. The achievement of these goals is facing many challenges, especially in Africa countries. This paper discusses some of the challenges faced by African countries while implementing these global sustainable development objectives.
Challenges Faced by African Countries in Achieving Sustainable Development Objectives
The first challenge is the Demographics in Africa. Africa population has rapidly grown over the past few years and in addition, there is an indication of a large youth bulge which is further reinforced by the life expectancy which is relatively low -50 years in several African countries. As of 2017, the population was approximately 1.25 billion with an increased rate of more than 2.5% per year. for instance, some of the populous countries in African like Nigeria had a population of 191 million in the same year with a growth rate of 2.6% per year. Regardless of their youthful population, there is no clear clarity concept as well as policies which can meet the needs of the youthful population in Africa. This means that Africa economy will remain below for many years to come. Additionally, the Africa continent population is set to double by 2050 (Ahmadalipour et al., 2019). While comparing to instances of rapid population histories in India, China as well as Pezzini, there is an insight that the society may fail to deal with the increasing population the, therefore, failing to achieve the development goals.
Secondly is the Slower and unequal economic growth. There is a very complex relationship between Sustainable Development as well as income inequality. The sustainable Goal 10 of the proposed SDGs aims at Reducing Inequality within as well as Among Countries by 2030. Ironically, more than 40% of the Africa population lives below the national average. Though income growth is not the only important aspect for sustainable development goal, The World Bank’s stipulates that it is an important consideration. Nevertheless, Africa faces several challenges when it comes to tackling inequality ad growth together. For instance, in sub-Saharan Africa, reports showed a higher mean and median level of inequality (0.43 and 0.41) compared with economies in other developing states (0.39 and 0.38). This inequality in development has seen emerging markets face a downturn (Cobbinah et al., 2015), therefore the implementation of sustainable development goals may be very difficult.
Additionally, the lack of clear Policy is another challenge. For the implementation of the sustainable developments, The UN lacks clear guidance on the policy as well as how the goals will be achieved. The lack of policies has resulted in varying perspectives, the avenue for cynicism, targets’ neglect as well as interpretation mostly in the low-resource states. To avoid failures of the development objectives, there should be strong policies as well as institutional coherence.
Nevertheless, capacity building is very crucial to SDGs success as well as attainment of its goals to provide the long-term platforms for transformation. Regardless of it being a location-specific, it mostly requires all sectors in every state to acquire and improve a new skillset in preparation for the for sustainability. Moreover, there is also a need for training as well as education in terms of the systems approaches to solutions, codesign and transdisciplinary initiatives. This means that there are requirements for a new generation and category of sustainability professionals who are ready to broker between international, national, as well as local issues in items of research and social aspects of sustainability. Most African states lack this capacity due to the dearth of the skilled workforce (Xiao et al., 2017). Regardless of most Africa countries being in the capacity to implement capacity building platforms including training, most contraries are still reluctant to implement them, therefore, being a drawback to the sustainable development goals.
Moreover, in every project, Finance is the key. To achieve success in a program there are large requirements of huge financial investments (Assembly, 2015). The rough calculations providing social safety nets to eradicate cases of extreme poverty in the world was about $66 billion per anum (World Health Organization, 2015). On the other hand, the yearly investments for infrastructure improvements such as agriculture, water, power as well as transport could require up to a total of $7 trillion in the world. At the global level, several developed states have not yet met the allocation targets 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to international aid in the last forty years (McCollum et al., 2018). These funds are to assist in providing the much-needed funds that are required to implement the objectives in developing states such as Africa countries meaning these developing states may not meet their development goals. Additionally, the dependence of developing states to donors has not produced any desired results for many reasons. Nevertheless, the states and other foundations may not be able to deliver on the ambitious vision for global sustainable growth (Asongu, 2016). In most Africa states, many government aid’s budgets do not expand meaning that the private sector will have to take the burden of financing gaps to achieve the goals. The private sector should, therefore, become a key partner in this process while large scale government funding remains essential. There should be different types of private sector engagement, finding the appropriate private-sector source of finance for each goal. If the SDGs are to succeed, there should be an inclusive approach to growth as well as mobilization of resources of financing while phasing out investment in unsustainable activities in all countries (Randolph & Masters, 2018). Therefore, since Africa countries lack this capacity to finance their activities and achieve sustained development goals, most Africa countries may fail to achieve these goals by 2030.
Sustainable development is often not possible in war-torn countries as there are other priorities on hand. Various wars have rocked different African states over the decades, therefore, resulting in deaths, injuries as well as the displacement of millions of people (König et al.,2017). This has resulted in the current cases of political instability across the continent which is characterized by violence and unrest in states such as Burundi, South Sudan, Somalia amongst others. For instance, the Central African Republic war has been existence since 2012-present. Many unstable states mostly benefit somewhat more stable neighboring states. As per studies, having a war in the next-door increases the risk of civil wars (Keim, 2018). For instance, the briefing there are reports that suggest that the genocide in tiny Rwanda spread murder across its neighbors. This dictates the state at which Africa is put into while still implementing its sustainable development goals. Some of the previous consequences of war include; Habitat Destruction and Refugees, Infrastructure Collapse, the use of Biological, Chemical, and Nuclear Weapons which negatively affects both the population and the environments. Additionally, the economies of both states of states involved In civil war is severely affected since all trade as well as exchanges gains are diverted for the war efforts (Zhang, 2015). Moreover, Industries do it function therefore creating rapid depreciation of the economy. With the sustainable development highly concerned with the environment, economy, wellbeing of every citizen, these wars create a drawback to the achievement of the sustainable development strategies.
Natural occurrences are another threat to the achievement of sustainable goals in Africa continent. These include earthquakes as well as tsunamis which can result in a shift in the flow of water and severe distractions. Since there is no single guaranteed method for anticipating a natural disaster, disaster preparations are not enough in Africa, therefore, resulting in damage. Some of the most witnessed natural disasters In Africa includes; Flooding, Storms, Drought, Hurricanes among others. For instance, in 2019, there was Cyclone Idai which made massive landfall in states such as Mozambique. Additionally, only six months after the occurrence of Cyclone Idai, Cyclone Kenneth occurred ashore in northern Mozambique April 25 this year. Both were characterized by hurricane-force winds as well as heavy rains which also caused massive floods. On drought, approximately more than 12 million individuals in Africa urgently require attention to survive droughts. The human cost of this crisis is catastrophic. This has of late sounded the alarm by the United Nations Organization (UN) Secretary-General to address the regions drought effects. (Mugambiwa & Tirivangasi, 2017).
In conclusion, there are many challenges in Africa which challenge the application and implementation of the sustainable development agenda. Some of these challenges include the rapid development in population, climate change i.e. drought, floods, etc., lack of finances, wars, lack of policies among others. In spite of the difficulties developing countries can still achieve sustainable development, however, it would require a lot of concentrated and coordinated effort.
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