NEW YORK CITY, Africa must be efficient and effective in mobilizing resources and look beyond the benevolence of others to finance the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), says President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana.

African countries need to change their economic structures from dependence on the production and export of raw materials to that of industrialised, value-added-based economies to be able to fully finance and convert the 17 SDG’s into concrete outcomes for their peoples, he added when he delivered the keynote address at the 5th International Conference on Sustainable Development at the Earth Institute of Columbia University here Monday.

With the SDG Agenda, estimated to cost between 3.5 trillion US dollars and 5.0 trillion USD yearly over iyts 15-year implementation time-frame until 2030, coupled with recent donor fatigue, the president said: There can be no future prosperity for our peoples, in the short, medium or long term, if we continue to maintain economic structures that are dependent on the production and export of raw materials.

We are a continent reliant on foreign aid, despite economic growth in parts of Africa significantly outpacing the global average. Truth be told, the full implementation of the SDGs in Africa cannot be done with a mindset of dependence.

He cited the example of Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire which together produce 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa but whose gross earnings from the crop amounted to only 5.75 billion USD out of the 100 billion USD world chocolate market in 2015,adding that such scenarios could no longer continue.

We certainly cannot finance the vision of building sustainable development on the continent with such scenarios … We must add value to our resources, and we must industrialise. Unless we do so, we cannot finance on our own implementation of the SDGs. The agenda surely has to be an ‘Africa beyond Aid’, he said.

We need to build an Africa that is able to look after her peoples through intelligent management of the resources with which she has been endowed, and embark on a new path. This path offers a new Africa. It is an Africa that will be defined by integrity, sovereignty, common belief, discipline, and shared values. It is one where we aim to be masters of our own destiny, and establish an Africa beyond Aid.

President Akufo-Addo told the gathering that his government had introduced measures to stimulate the private sector, through the introduction of a monetary policy that was stabilising the currency, reducing interest rates, and reducing significantly the cost of borrowing, in addition to a raft of tax cuts to bring relief to and encourage businesses.

He said it was the competitiveness of Ghanaian enterprises, particularly in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, that would determine Ghana’s capacity to create wealth for her youth and women and the sustainable development of the country.

The competitiveness of Ghana’s private sector is key to addressing issues of inclusion, economic development and growth of Ghana. That is the way to building a self-reliant Ghana, with a strong economy capable of generating jobs and prosperity for the mass of her people, he added.