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Launch of the Southern Africa Sub-Regional Center
The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa
Statement by Dr. Belay Begashaw
Director General
07th August 2019, Lusaka - Zambia

Your Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, SDG Center Board Member and gracious host of the SDGCA Sub-regional Center for Southern Africa,

Your Excellency Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda and Chair of the SDG Center Founding Board,

Your Excellency Nangolo Mbumba, Vice President of the Republic of Namibia,

Honorable Ministers from Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Rwanda

Members of  Parliament

Members of core diplomatic and The UN missions..

All other partners,

Distinguished Invitees, all protocols observed

Ladies and Gentlemen, Shani! Muli Shani!

It is a great honor and distinct privilege for me to address you all at this launch of the Southern Africa sub-regional Center of The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa event.

At the outset, please allow me to express my deep gratitude to you, your Excellency Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, your Government and the people of Zambia, for hosting the Sub-regional SDG Center and providing the needful support for it to become operational.

Let me also take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the Board of the SDG Center for approving the location of the Southern sub-regional Center to be here in Lusaka. This was the right choice; we are already enjoying very friendly and warm hospitality from the people of Zambia, thank you very much.

On behalf of the management of the SDG Center, It is with great pleasure that I welcome you all to this event of the official launch of the sub-regional Center and this is an opportune moment for me to share with you the mission and some of the Center’s key undertakings.

Excellences, distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,

As you may already be aware, the  SDG Center Africa  started its operations in July 2016, making it now slightly more than three years old. Its Headquarters are hosted in Kigali, Rwanda. Our mission at the Center is to support governments, civil society, businesses and academic institutions to accelerate progress towards the SDGs. We do this through engaging in research, policy and technical work among others.

Following the adoption of the SDGS, unlike in the past, African leaders  this time around have resolved a historical decision not to waste any day without setiing up their own home born and grown inistitution. This  inistitution which is unique in its kind not  only secure technical backstopping to African states in this  endavour but also enable them to stay in helm and be part of the agenda setting and solution cooking on  the global and local challnges the world face together.

To  this effect ,  SDGCA, in incredibly short time   has  built a  modest reputation as  a center of excellence in the space  to be able  susbstntively active in all  the global discourses   and dilaouges where SDGS policies and programs are determined.The SDGCA has never been alone in this journey. It is been enjoying the unwavering support of its Board of directors leadership and guidance . The Board of directors co chaired by HE prseidnet Kagame and Mr Aliko Dangote composed of other prominenet buisnesse, acadmicas, technology gigs and human rights figures is  very much resembles the SDGS,  and the values  it standing for.

We are an action and results oriented organization, advocating for a divergence from the business as usual approach to Africa’s development issues in accordance to the SDG and agenda 2063 aspirations and ambitions. The Center therefore endeavors to bring together ideas and experts and is constantly looking for strategic partnerships.

In order to enahnce its reach and also capture the diversity in perspectives between the sub regions, the Center from the outset proposed to open at least five  hubs, across the continent n such a way it could  represent the immense differences in the agro-ecology, socio-cultural and geo-political aspects of the sub-regions. The Lusaka Center is therefore, a key milestone of the SDG Center in realizing its increased and more contextualized representation of Africa’s sub-regions.

The Center has already ongoing flagship programs and initiatives, which include among others; development and dissemination of annual Africa SDG Index and Dashboards Report, introduction and training in use of a pan African monitoring and reporting system, SDGs financing initiatives such as support in reforming development banks in Africa, macroeconomic analyses and costing of SDG investment needs.

It is also worth noting that the Center has conducted research and held big conferences and workshops related to critical sectors relevant for SDGs and Africa, these include education, health, water, nutrition, energy etc.

Your Excellency President Lungu and excellencey Prisdent Kagame , as you remember, recently in June you blessed with your presence the “SDG implementation in Africa: Three years reality check conference” that took place in Kigali. I thank you and all board members who presented and substantively contrubited.

During the  mentioned conference, we took time and refelected on  the three years  journey through a  reality check report  that was released by the Cnter ; in general it indicates that, at the current pace, progress remains off-track and SDG goals will unlikely be met. Some of the proposals to accelerate the achievement of SDGs in the report include; more political support to bridge existing data gaps, establishment of continent-based accountability mechanisms and Africa based funds for social inclusion.

Excellences, distinguished delegates, Ladies and gentlemen,

I feel very proud and honord to inform you that today again ,we have over 500 delgates mainly from  the sub region but also from out soide the continent presided here to show solidarity and owenership for the noble nission we set out togrther.

The purpose of this launch event meeting is to take stock of the challenges affecting SDG implementation in Africa and make recommendations on what the Lusaka Center should focus on to make the most meaningful impact for the countries within the southern sub-region, the continent and globally.

In line with this and the urgent  need  sought to act swifitly and catch up with the lost time, the launch today beside celebrating the onset of the operation, it is about launching  six t major programs that will help leapfrog the current performances:

These includes  :

Food security and nutrition,

Improving the macro economic environment  and tax reform,

Revitalizing development banks ( Zambia and Zimbabwe )

Optimization the energy sector

Water and sanitation

Data and statistics

All  documents related to these subjects have been prepared  and will be discussed

during  the panels and in subsequent ocnultative meetings.

Of course as I mentioned earlier, the SDG Center has a number of ongoing programs and initiatives, as well as recommendations from the SDG three year report that it would wish to pursue within the sub-regional Center, however we are very confident that your insights, knowledge and active participation will go further in shaping and turning the Centers activities into results.

With the expertise and experience of each of the people in this room and the continued commitment and support of governments, Africa regional bodies and all other stakeholders, I am confident that the SDG sub-regional Center will ably build the needed capacity to significantly contribute to an increased momentum for SDG achievement.

I appreciate every one’s valuable contribution towards this discussion and the Lusaka Center’s activities moving forward. The SDG Center is open for collaboration with all of you in making the SDGs relevant and attainable in Africa; we count on you and similarly ask you to count on us in this business.

Once again, allow me to seize this opportunity and express my sincere gratefulness to the Goveremnt Zambia for the relntess and generous support from day one which otherwiswe any of these things could not have happned. My special thanks goes to the Ministry of Foreigen affaira and ministry of planning who have been semlessely working with us to make this day a reaslity.Last but not least to the SDGCA staff in Kigali and Lusaka who have tirelessely working to meet the new expections and deliver all theb time.

Thank you for your kind attention.

 

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