Farirai Machivenyika and Leeroy Dzenga
Vision 2030 addresses aspirations contained in Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 aimed at eradicating poverty in Africa.
This was said by President Mnangagwa in his speech while officially opening the Sixth Session of the African Regional Forum on Sustainable Development here.
The forum was organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca).
“Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 directly addresses the aspirations highlighted by the by the SDGs and Agenda 2063 and seeks a development path which ‘ leaves no one behind’, he said.
“Accordingly, our 5-year national development plans running up to 2063 will endeavour to achieve an upper middle income status by 2030. We have refocused our national budget to ensure that every programme at ministry level is aligned to specific SDGs.
“In addition, my Government has developed an elaborate framework with a supervision mandate, housed in my office.”
The President said he had assigned the ministries of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare; Health and Child Care as well as Agriculture, Water Climate and Rural Resettlement to coordinate the governance framework.
“The ministries are supported by a governance structure of various committees which include cooperating partners, private sector and civil society.
“The implementation framework cascades to the lowest level which is the ward and ensures the achievement of SDGs through bottom up approach,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said the devolution principle adopted by the Government was in line with the objective to implement locally-driven initiatives.
“Our devolution policy is therefore being vigorously implemented to allow all provinces of the country to plan and implement their development strategies using the natural resource endowments in their localities, which will impact on our attainment of SDGs,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said there was need for Africa to work together to achieve SDGs .
“The need for us to act together and take responsibility in pursuit of an optimal development path and a shared Africa’s development vision is imperative; especially now that we have entered the crucial phase of decade of action.
“It is therefore most opportune that we meet once again to collectively review progress that our Continent has made to our commitments towards the achievement of the SDGs,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said the 17 SDGs were intertwined.
“Through the symbiotic relationships and trade-offs between SDGs and SDG targets, comprehensive and effective implementation can be accelerated,” he said.
“Improving electricity access, for example, through the development of capabilities and capacities in renewable energy (Goal 7) facilitates improved access to health (Goal 3), education (Goal 4) and ICTs (Goal 9) also simultaneously reduces use of non-renewable fuels for cooking and lighting.
“In addition, a cluster approach and cross border projects should be vigorously pursued. This will accelerate the achievement of SDGs and Agenda 2063 within our respective countries, regional economic communities and the continent at large. Our comparative and competitive advantages should be leveraged to improve the quality of life of our citizens on the continent.”
The President said Zimbabwe would forge ahead with its political and economic reform process despite the absence of international financial support.
“However, the need to remain alive to the shocks of drought and the impact of climate change through the necessary social safety nets cannot be over-emphasised.
“My Government is accelerating the resource mobilisation towards the Social Protection Agenda. We appeal for multilateral support to augment our efforts,” he said.
The President said the adoption of modern farming methods was necessary to improve productivity and food security.
He said Africa must work collectively to grow enough food.
“Agro-based industrialisation and the efficient exploitation and utilisation of Africa’s vast natural resources are the bedrock upon which our continent can speedily achieve sustainable development.
“In this regard the 4th industrial revolution offers Africa in particular, opportunities to expedite the attainment of SDG 4 and 9 as they relate to quality education, industry and innovation and infrastructure development,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said Zimbabwe had reconfigured its higher and tertiary education sector to focus practical application of science and technology and innovation to create jobs.
He said the empowerment of SMEs and women would reduce inequalities on the continent.
“Meanwhile, the scourge of corruption impedes and robs our continent of an improved standard of life of our people.
‘My Government has thus prioritised the elimination of this cancer. To date, my administration has strengthened institutions mandated to lead the fight against corruption,” President Mnangagwa said.
He bemoaned the fact that Africa was the worst affected by the effects of climate change, yet it contributed less to global warming.
“In Southern Africa, we experienced the wrath of climate change through Cyclones Idai and Kenneth in 2019 as well as recurring droughts. For us in Zimbabwe, the ripple effects of climate change were felt in every sector of our society, with dire consequences to our food security, hydro power generation and cumulatively projected economic growth,” President Mnangagwa said.
He commended efforts to end armed conflicts and called for stronger institutions and entrenchment of good governance and democracy.
“This forum is expected to provide an opportunity to craft an African position that we are expected to carry to the High Level Political Forum for SDGs to be convened by the UN Economic and Social Council in New York from 7th to 17th July 2020.
“This will be an opportunity to tell the world our story regards the good that we are doing for our people,” President Mnangagwa said.
The forum is being held under the theme: “2020-2030: A decade to deliver a transformed and prosperous Africa through the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.”
Midway in his speech officially opening the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, President Mnangagwa paused and temporarily diverted from his prepared speech.
He acknowledged a young man who had wowed the delegates with a moving speech.
“Brilliant,” was among words the President used yesterday, to describe the delivery.
Nkosilathi Nyathi is his name and he spoke for the environment.
Nyathi is the UNICEF-Climate Youth Ambassador for climate change and has travelled the world with his advocacy.
His biggest stage was the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Spain end of 2019.
This time around, Nyathi had brought his climate change gospel back home in the literal sense.
“Climate Change is now our reality. It is causing these extreme weather events to be more frequent and more severe. The plagues of locusts that are decimating Eastern Africa – many of your countries – are made worse through climatic impacts such as drought and floods,” Nyathi said.
Towards the end of his eloquent delivery he let out some hard truths.
“We are here to talk about Sustainable Development. But we need to recognise that the environment and climate change form the foundation of all the SDGs.
“If we fail to achieve the goals related to Clean Water and Sanitation, Climate Action, Life Below Water, and Life on Land, the world will fail to achieve all the other remaining goals.”
After the speech, President Mnangagwa gave him a firm handshake.
“The President asked me where I learn, which level I am in and he said he is proud of me,” Nyathi said in an interview.
The Form Four learner at Inyathi High School said that was his best moment in his life.