The aftermath of 2020 chaos; can Africans re-strategize to achieve the SDGs? [Article]

I am not religious and do not want to appear an expert in Christian theology. But the only task God gave to mankind after creation was to be the caretaker of planet earth. Genesis 1:26 (KJV),” And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion…over the earth and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”  Hence, any activity carried out by humans should conform to sustainability of planet earth and protection of human lives.

In September 2015, at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York, a final document containing 169 targets and 17 goals were adopted by global leaders to serve as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030.

These 17 goals summarized all the problems confronting humanity and with the aim to finding everlasting solutions to them. The goals are: No Poverty; Zero Hunger; Good Health and Well-being; Quality Education; Gender Equality; Clean Water and Sanitation; Affordable and Clean Energy; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Reducing Inequality; Sustainable Cities and Communities; Responsible Consumption and Production; Climate Action; Life Below Water; Life On Land; Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Partnership for the goals.

The questions are: is it even possible for Africa to move out of poverty and other developmental challenges by 2030? will Africans learn from the cataclysmic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade and move into industrialization and production?; will Africans learn after the Black Lives Matter Protests that just as poor people in our communities are maligned, so as citizens who make poor decisions to wreck their nations would be maligned?; what is the way forward for Africa and the world in achieving the SDGs after all these 2020 chaos?

Africa like any other continent, has its development foundation resting on the education of its youth. From global data, Africa has the largest youth population in the world – 65% of African population are young. So can Africa leverage on the education of its youth for socioeconomic transformation of the continent?

Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, said, “it is easier to change yourself than to change someone: complaining about your current position in life is worthless. Have a spine and do something about it instead.” Are you a passionate youth who want to see a developed Africa? Do you have any project or idea you do not know how to go about its implementation? Do you agree with me that Africans are the solution for Africa?

It is better late than never. Youth Advocates Ghana (YAG) under the leadership of Emmanuel Ametepey created the first continental youth platform to mobilize young people towards the achievements of the SDGS in Africa in 2017 – the African Youths SDGs Summit. The event was repeated in November 2018. Imagine youth leaders under 35 years hosting over 1,400 people across Africa and the world? How did they achieve this feat?

Leading Youth in Sustainable Development: A Handbook for Youth Leaders & Advocates” is a concise and practical handbook written by Emmanuel Clifford Gyetuah, who is a youth leader at YAG and has worked on many SDGs related projects, to empower young people  especially African youth on systemic approach  to solve our developmental problems after the 2020 chaos.

Many books are written by sourcing secondary data by authors. This particular book was written by a youth leader working on the ground. He outlined the various challenges in implementing sustainable projects in Africa and the best approach to overcome the challenges. This book should be made a must read for African secondary school students if we really want to see a transformed Africa by 2030 or 2063.

Personally, apart from bad leadership and followership in Africa, I ascribe most of Africa’s problems to bad partnerships in projects implementation and inability so properly sell our ideas to others. Chapter 2,3 and 4 of the book discuss practical approach for African youth to overcome these challenges.

The book talks about effective ways to choose partners; wise means to protect ideas sharing with partners; and diplomatic means to avoid conflicts in partnerships. Andrew Carnegie, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allow common people to attain uncommon results.” We need to master partnership as youth leaders and advocates if we want change.

The late UN Secretary General, Bosumuru Kofi Annan, said, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” If we do not educate and empower ourselves in sustainable project management at all levels, we will always remain poor continent. The future of Africa and the world rest on the ability of leaders to lead sustainable initiatives. So get a copy of ‘Leading Youth in Sustainable Development: A Handbook for Youth Leaders & Advocates’ and lets transform Africa and the world.

Kwasi Boadu Ntiamoah/[email protected]

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