Path to Sustainable Development Goals: An African Vantage Point
Africa has multiple challenges to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. However, the continent also has a window of opportunity to surmount these challenges by leapfrogging. Sub-Saharan African Countries may achieve giant strides in development by adopting new ways of thinking and deploying different applications due to Africa's late-comer position with other regions. No one strategy is a panacea for the continent's development, but a multi-pronged, holistic view of these challenges the essence of this book.
This book is a catalyst to African researchers, students, researchers interested in the African continent, policymakers, civil society, and practitioners working to attain Sustainable Development goals and ultimately improve the Africans' livelihood.
Chapter One discusses the importance of the adoption of Space Research and its applications, primarily Remote Sensing and Geospatial Information Systems, in line with SDG 9 driving Infrastructure development, Industrialization, and Innovation. The use of Remote Sensing and Geospatial Information Systems is a crucial enabler for African countries to collect reliable data that may accurately inform policymakers in their decision- making. The chapter discusses the key players who have undertaken space research in the African continent and its applications to effectively manage Africa's abundant natural resources and bridge the technological gap with other regions. These strategies are instructive to African countries that have nascent or non-existent space initiatives.
Chapter Two considers Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises Financing in Tanzania and the importance of Group Lending because of its high outreach, i.e., reaching the indigent whom traditional banking institutions refuse many times loans. Microfinance availability is critical to achieving SDG 1 and 10, which stipulate ending poverty and reducing inequalities. Moreover, Microfinance Institutions that provide loans to small business owners have shown significant financial sustainability. Governments need to create a friendly environment to attract more finance in this space, so that youth are empowered to set up and grow businesses creating much-needed employment.
Chapter Three discusses the underlying issues related to Energy and Climate Change Nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of SDG 7, promoting affordable and clean energy. SDG 7 stipulates access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Additionally, because of the disproportionate access to electricity to peoples in SSA compared to other regions, SSA governments must focus on generating renewable sources of electricity to triple the electricity availability while minimizing the carbon footprint as per SDG 13 that highlights climate action. The author presented several vital questions and answers related to power generation, transmission, and distribution. Moreover, this chapter discussed the primary carbon emissions in SSA and methods of minimizing the emissions.
Chapter Four discussed the key attributes of strong agriculture value chains highlighting Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia and how these best-in-class value chains may be replicated and scaled up to other African countries in the context of SDG 2 that puts forward zero hunger.
Chapter Five identifies African countries with registered quality education and gender parity in education and is on track to achieve SDGs 4 and 5, respectively. The methods and strategies employed by successful countries as possible best practices. The importance of gender equality is not only a human rights issue, but it is a significant development issue to tap the full potential of about 50% of the African population who are women.
The Epilogue closes by briefly analyzing how the global supply chain disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in SMEs in African countries producing locally Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), test kits, sanitizers, and even ventilators. African SMEs have the wherewithal for value addition and producing high-quality goods affordable to the local populace, hitherto creating local employment. In collaboration with MFIs, governments should bridge the financing gap in line with SDG 1 to enable financing for SMEs. SDG 1 calls for actions that allow the poor and the vulnerable to have equal rights to economic resources; furthermore, the author has recommended the early operationalization of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which has the potential of increasing intra-African trade from the current 18% of total exports while the remaining percentage of trade is with the rest of the world in essence creating employment elsewhere. Adopting AfCFTA will drive SDG 10 to reduce poverty and decrease inequalities amongst people by allowing free movement of people, goods, and services across African borders, boosting trade.