Stronger together: Amplifying partnerships to finance the SDGs in Africa

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        This week, the government of Kenya is hosting the Second High-Level Meeting (HLM2) of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation (GPEDC), which takes place in Nairobi from 28 November to 1 December 2016. This year, the focus is mainly on the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Strengthening the effectiveness of multi-stakeholder partnerships is key for Africa, to ensure its ability to harness its own resources and raise potential revenue for development. The African Union (AU) - as a platform that brings together the African voice in the global arena - has taken great steps to push for self-financing of development. Yet, Africa is still unable to mobilise enough financial resources within the continent and still heavily relies on external funding. For the 2017 AU budget, the union will still be expecting to raise almost three-quarters of its total budget from international partners. However, with the stagnating levels of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for Africa - due mainly to domestic fiscal challenges of partners - the new global economic reality has shown that dependence on externals is unsustainable.

      Moving towards an inclusive and effective partnership between equals

      It is clear that the considerable investment requirements of the 2030 Agenda cannot be met through ODA alone. For example, Africa is estimated to need between $614-$613 billion per year to implement the SDGs, whilst there is a funding gap in developing countries estimated at US$1.9 and US$3.1 trillion each year between now and 2030. The ambitious and universal 2030 Agenda calls for an equally ambitious and comprehensive response from all development partners. To effectively implement the SDGs for our common future, new forms of inclusive and effective partnerships are needed. Thus, the priority should lie in moving beyond a mainly donor-recipient mentality of the past. Africa and its development partners should look to one another as equals. Thus, stronger and more strategic partnerships on financing with the AU are necessary so as to eliminate the perceived challenge of power imbalances and conflicting interests. Bridging this disconnect requires practical solutions, including a willingness from all parties involved to use as a guide the lessons learned from past unsuccessful partnership initiatives, an understanding that financing for development needs to be more responsive to the needs and realities of Africa, and the AU priorities as articulated under its Agenda 2063. The AU and its development partners further need to share opportunities and challenges in the area of financing for sustainable development. They also need to share emerging best practices (such as joint funding and triangular cooperation), for the implementation of the SDGs.

      Improving trust, transparency and accountability

      The effective implementation of the SDGs depends on improving effectiveness of partnerships. This requires an understanding of the key role that each stakeholder has. As noted from a recent report titled “Why do we need the African Union?”: ‘any future partnerships with Africa, should promote implementation of Mutual Accountability Framework as a tool to cultivate trust’. Further, a framework for accountability of the 2030 Agenda that is effectively promoted to ensure countries’ commitment and ways to accelerate this is needed, especially when it comes to the implementation and monitoring of development financing requirements and capacities of African countries.
      ‘any future partnerships with Africa, should promote the implementation of the Mutual Accountability Framework as a tool to cultivate trust’.

      Stronger together

      Achieving the SDGs in this era of globalisation requires systematically catalysing essential partnerships and cooperation with Africa. International partnerships should aim at supporting the AU to leverage all sources of finance, enhancing finance for development in support of the SDGs. Forming new and diverse partnerships will be at the forefront of coherent policies to address the multiple challenges that are going to be faced in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development in Africa. The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of ECDPM.
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