By: Fred Yaw Sarpong- Daily Express
President John Mahama has called on world leaders and the industrialize nations to give Africa the opportunity to be part of the world leading producers of commodities.
According to President Mahama this will offer the teeming youth in Africa jobs to do and also stop them traveling to Europe and other part of the world to seek greener pastures.
President Mahama said this when he delivered a speech at the UN Summit for the Adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the UN General Assembly in New York.
He said “if the teeming youth of Africa must find jobs at home and stop attempting to cross the Mediterranean to enter the greener pastures of Europe, then we must review the role Africa plays in world production. A significant portion of processing and value addition must relocate to the continent.”
He reiterated that the Africa Union's Agenda 2063 makes a strong case for integrating our economies on the continent to accelerate transformative change. To achieve this, “we have to invest in our human capital through education and health care, accelerate infrastructural development to link African economies, address inequalities while building meaningful relationships with the private sector.”
“For Africa, a focus on Goals 2 and 7 of the SDGs will provide us with the needed impetus to ensure economic growth and transformation,” he mentioned.
He noted that the path to sustainable development for a country like Ghana and many other African countries has been a difficult one. “We are still in the main, producers of primary commodities, while secondary and tertiary processing is done in the developed world and finished goods exported back to us,” President Mahama stated.
President Mahama said the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which comprises seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a major rededication of the world, to the commitment to fighting growing inequality, wiping out extreme poverty, and tackling the issues of climate change over the next 15 years.
“What we have adopted, and referred to simply as the SDGs is perhaps the most ambitious, transformational development ever attempted in the history of the United Nations. We must tackle these challenges identified in the 17 goals as a matter of urgency, and we can also seize the opportunity offered by the adoption of the SDGs to tackle the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals,” said President Mahama.
In pursuing the SDGs, he said “it is important for us to redefine a new paradigm of development. The current high consumption of wasteful societies we classify as developed cannot be the model for sustainable development.”
He emphasized that if the current attraction of the big cities of the so-called developed world, such as shopping malls bursting at the seams with all kinds of consumer goods, glitzy neon lighting and fast food franchises are the standard to be classified as developed, then “we will need two more planets, the size of our earth, to maintain and sustain the human race.”
“The world’s resources are not infinite. If we are to attain the objective of a sustainable consumption and production pattern under Goal 12, then it will be necessary for us to review the relations between labour, production and capital,” he appealed to the world leaders.
Through the implementation of Ghana’s Agenda for Transformation developed by the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), President Mahama said “we aim to diversify production and exports, be more competitive on international markets, increase productivity of all resource inputs and upgrade technologies in order to make the much anticipated leap out of poverty.”
Citing Ghana as a example, he said where two decades of consistent positive economic growth, has led to an average 10% to 12% annual increase in demand for power. This has caused demand for electricity to exceed supply. “To keep our system running, we have resorted to the implementation of a load management system.”
In addition, he said “we have put in place a programme to introduce emergency generation into the transmission system, but are mindful to ensure that we use as much clean energy sources as possible to the benefit of our current and future generations.”
“The MDGs have been good. They have in the last 15 years helped address socio-economic inequalities and disparities in national, regional and global development. In Ghana, the MDGs have always been a core part of our national development frameworks since September 2000. That has helped us make modest but significant progress in the achievement of the MDGs,” said President Mahama.
He said Ghana is therefore well positioned and poised to drive the SDGs in the post-2015 development era.
He promised Ghanaians to continue to aggressively implement the country’s Agenda for Transformation within the framework of the newly adopted SDGs in order to build a life of dignity that ensures no one is left behind.