By 2050, more than one in four people will be African. The latest report from Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel (APP) therefore calls for bold action to ensure that all of them have a fair chance of leading healthy, prosperous and fulfilling lives.

Africa progress panel bold actionThe report, “Making Progress Towards Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa”, draws from a decade’s worth of insights, outlining the key opportunities and challenges Africa faces as it strives to realise its Sustainable Development Goals, and create long-term equitable and sustainable prosperity. It is primarily a call to action, presenting a bold agenda for African progress.

Three core priorities for action are highlighted: The fast mobilisation of sufficient financial resources for Africa’s “green and blue” (agriculture and fisheries sector) revolutions; rapidly boosting investment in Africa’s energy and transport infrastructure, and the fight against illicit financial activities and the mismanagement of Africa’s resources. The Panel also emphasises that a culture of accountability, with zero tolerance for corruption at all levels, supported by transparent institutions, especially with regards to financial activities and tax regimes, will also be fundamental to achieving progressive change and positive transformation on the continent.

As of 2018, the APP’s work will be taken forward by a new entity, provisionally named the Africa Progress Group. This organisation is to be established by APP member, and former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

The new entity, with operational headquarters at the Centre for Human Security and Dialogue of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Nigeria, will seek to create a network of robust regional and international partnerships focused on pushing for the implementation of the recommendations the APP has made over the years in its Africa Progress Reports and policy statements.

“The majority of Africa’s poor continue to live and work in rural areas, predominantly as smallholder farmers, while millions depend on the ocean for their protein and livelihoods. The absence of flourishing agricultural and fishing industries risks excluding the majority of Africans from the rising tide of prosperity,” the report states.

“More than 600 million Africans still do not have access to electricity, and the number is set to grow in the coming years. In addition to effectively addressing the climate change challenge, Africa must also proactively rethink the relationship between energy and development, and swiftly leapfrog to a new era of low carbon efficient modern energy systems that provide affordable electricity to all Africans.”

Additionally, President Obasanjo stresses the importance of ensuring gender equality as soon as possible. “Africa’s future is in the hands of women. Equal education for girls, at all three education levels, is the critical issue,” he says.

“We have seen Africa transform over the past decade, and our work has left us with an unshakeable hope for its future. We also know, however, that this transformation has required hard work, creativity and courage. This will continue to be vital in the coming years, for much remains to be done,” the report concludes.

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