Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and Chair of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group has harped on the Importance of collaboration and investment in driving sustainable development in Africa.
She made the call in a video message presented at the Africa Social Impact Summit (ASIS) 2023 as part of the summit convened by the Sterling One Foundation and the UN country team in Nigeria, which brought together leaders from the public and private sectors, non-profit organizations, and impact investors to discuss development-focused initiatives.
In her message, the Deputy Secretary-General expressed gratitude to the Sterling One Foundation and the UN country team in Nigeria for organizing the event, emphasizing its significance in bringing together diverse stakeholders from the public, private, and development sectors for a common purpose.
She underlined the summit’s focus on action, applauding its special emphasis on key areas such as youth inclusion, women empowerment, climate solutions, and the circular economy.
She made a case for investment as a tool for development in Africa, describing the continent as the world’s most exciting business opportunity. She stressed that investments in Africa present a unique opportunity not only to drive economic growth but also to make substantial progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want.
However, she acknowledged the challenges that Africa faces, including setbacks caused by COVID-19 and global disruptions like the conflict in Ukraine. Despite these challenges, she emphasized Africa’s enduring strengths, such as its abundant natural resources, vast arable land, and a youthful population eager to contribute to development.
She explained the need for investments that go beyond resource extraction, advocating for investments in both hard and soft infrastructure, with a particular focus on human capital development. Highlighting the importance of youth development, climate-smart solutions, education, health, renewable energy, and improved water and sanitation facilities, she called for public and private sector collaboration to strengthen Africa’s development finance network and institutions.
Amina also commended the project finance “deal room” at the summit, which provides a platform for organizations with viable projects to connect with potential financiers. She urged participants to share the lessons learned and data collected from these deals with the broader public, demonstrating the transformative impact of financing across Africa.
In the face of climate change, water stress, and environmental degradation, she stressed the need for sustainable portfolios that contribute to the circular economy and climate goals.
Finally, she called for collective efforts to unlock the full potential of the African Continental Free Trade Area, a powerful opportunity to drive development, digital infrastructure, and reduce trade barriers.