Sweden: Africans discuss global goals

Raymondo Wilson of the embassy of Mozambique questioned how a country’s eoonomic performance can be measured in the absence of public statistics

In late March, the Nordic Africa Institute (NAI) held a two-day symposium in Uppsala, Sweden focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and African development.
The symposium, which brought together African diplomats and researchers, was dedicated to understanding African development within the framework of the SDGs.
The event’s first session revolved around the purpose and expectations of the goals.

Raymondo Wilson from the Mozambican embassy in Sweden raised the questions of how a country’s economic performance can be measured if public statistics are lacking.
“We are moving into a data world so if the data is not there, then we have a problem”, he said. 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 “global goals” adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York in 2015. The goals, to be met by 2030, include ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, making cities more sustainable, combating climate change, and protecting oceans and forests.

NAI head of research Victor Adetula

Many African countries have recorded impressive economic growth, but without having much success in generating jobs, strengthening manufacturing capacity and reducing poverty. A reorientation of economic growth, many observers say, is necessary in order to achieve improved living conditions on a large scale.

 “We seek to enrich the participants’ understanding of the pending challenges,” said Victor Adetula, head of research at NAI, who initiated the symposium.Practically all areas of NAI’s research – from urban development to conflict resolution – are relevant in this perspective, he noted.Adetula said that the SDGs cover “virtually every aspect of human endeavour”, which has led some observers to criticise them for being too broad.“It is a long shopping list, that’s true, but it also shows that the demand for human development is vast”, he said.  

Text & Photos: Mattias Sköld

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