It’s no news that a global 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. As 2017 winds up and as a stakeholder in global tourism, the fact that this year was designated as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development as well as the very strategic moves that had been made in global tourism this year, is a clear indication, in my opinion, that the world has resolved to embrace sustainable practices and maximize the engagement of this global development agenda.
However, going by the turn of event, it seems Africa is either ignorant of this fact or has simply decided to ignore this ‘clarion call’. According to a recent report by Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel, Power People planet: Seizing Africa’s energy and climate opportunities, at least two of three Africans lack access to electricity. Africa’s highly centralized energy systems often benefit the rich to the exclusion of the poor. They are mostly underpowered, inefficient and unequal. Chronic undersupply of secure and affordable electricity is a barrier to growth, job creation and poverty reduction.
Lacking access to clean energy sources, over half of Africa’s population is forced to resort to biomass, such as firewood and charcoal – an option that is economically inefficient and environmentally devastating. Energy sector bottlenecks and power shortages cost the region 2-4 per cent of GDP annually, undermining sustainable economic growth, jobs and investment.
Africa’s energy deficits reinforce poverty, especially for women and people in rural areas. Africa’s poorest people are paying the world’s highest prices for energy. On current trends, the region will not achieve the 2030 goals – and in many countries the number of people without access to energy is rising as a result of demographic pressures.
What is more worrisome for me is our inability to admit that the solution to our problems must be homegrown. We must find a way of transforming Africa into a place of prosperity and wellbeing for all by ourselves and we must start now. Nobody from other climes can love Africa more than Africans. For instance, we must accept the fact that if we refuse to give our children the basic necessities of life, they will continue to take life-threatening risks to get the good things of life in the developed world.
We should not delude ourselves, the recent very sad story of slavery in Libya is not a new trend essentially because of Libya’s proximity to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. From time immemorial, Libya has always been the hub for this illicit trade which has continued to negatively impact Africa. It is on record that although slave trade was officially abolished in Tripoli in 1853, Ghadames also known as the pearl of the desert, an old town that lies roughly 462 km (287mi) to the southwest of Tripoli near the borders with Algeria and Tunisia, handled 2,500 slaves on an annual basis till the 1890s.
The right thing to do now is for Africa like the rest of the world is to decisively marshal out plans to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, ensure healthy living and promote the well-being of the peoples across all ages. African states should equally ensure inclusive and equitable quality education, life-long learning opportunities for all, gender equality and empower all women and girls and compulsorily promote sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and right to decent work for all, build infrastructure with robust industrialization.
Equally germane are wealth redistribution among income earners, creation of safe human settlements and cities inclusive, sustainable consumption and production patterns, urgent actions toward mitigating the effects of climate change through the use of renewable energy, preservation of the ecosystem and access to justice for all. There is need to build effective, accountable and strong institutions at all levels and also revitalize global partnership for sustainable development.
As the Yoruba say, “ti o ba ngbo gbe gbe gbe, ti o ba te te b’awon gbe, won a gbe da si eeyin kule ile e”, which literally means that when you hear that everyone has decided to clean up the whole surroundings by not leaving anything unturned and you refuse to join them, folding your arms you can be sure that the waste will eventually be dumped at your backyard.
With a deep sense of exultation to God for seeing us through the ninth year of publishing Inside Watch Africa (IWA), it is crystal clear that we are standing where we are today by the grace of God for which are thankful. To all the brands that have continued to support IWA right from the start, we give kudos and heartfelt gratitude and pray that God will continue to enrich yours brands. The list includes South African Tourism, South African Airways, Ocean Glory Group, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Navy, Westrend Limited, Gold Speed, Zenith Bank, ExxonMobil, Anchor Events Place, Billy James Nigeria Limited and Mudel Nigeria Limited.
Also, on our protocol list of appreciation are Shalom 2000 Nigeria Limited, Stoirin Maritime Services Limited, Moonlight Jewelry, Hayley and Larson Limited. The management and the Board wish you a merry Christmas and an outstandingly prosperous 2018. I assure you that you are going to have another pleasurable reading experience with this edition. Enjoy!