Commonwealth Africa Summit 2018 Seeks to Unlock Africa’s Economic Potential
Unlocking Africa’s economic potential by increasing trade, collaboration and Philanthropy within the commonwealth will be at the forefront of conversations at next month’s Commonwealth Africa Summit in London.
The Summit aims to spark new thinking on how to promote collective action, achieve shared prosperity and common good for Africans leveraging on their relationship with the commonwealth family of nations. Through a series of discussions the event will encourage dialogue on how to strategies and mobilize valuable African resources that are critical to shaping the continent’s emerging economies.
The key themes in the Summit included, How can we beat Africa’s Water Crisis? Strong Economic Leadership: An imperative for Common Good From Emerging Markets to Sustainable Market – Creating Sustainable economies across Africa. Africa for Africans: A New Era of Africa Philanthropic Giving and its impact on the continent. Are there disruptive solutions to solving Africa’s Energy and Infrastructural Challenges? Economic Prosperity, Poverty and Human Trafficking in Africa: Finding lasting solutions. Climate Change: Issues, Priorities and Solutions for the Commonwealth Africa. Will Brexit Translate to opportunities for African Economy Improving Opportunities for African Women: The role of economic, policy and culture
Beyond Philanthropy: How do we drive more access to finance for Africa’s budding entrepreneurs? Investing in Africa: Where are the opportunities? Where are the financing gaps? How to successfully direct invest? Which emerging markets are ripe for next generation of private equity financing?. All these issues will be discussed by the leaders and as well experts and the civil society organizations who are also participating in this event.
The summit this year was addressed in behalf of Sudan by Dr. Dr. HASSAN ABDELGADIR HILAL
MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT, NATURAL RESOURCES AND PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT
Dr. Hilal started his statement with ; It gives me profound honor and great pleasure to have been invited to address the Commonwealth Africa Summit 2018 as guest panelist. It is exciting to me to represent my country Sudan and myself a Federal Minister of Environment and have the opportunity to meet with the commonwealth members and the African citizens whose countries took right decisions to join the commonwealth and to continue as members. The summit is a golden opportunity for extending the relations and strengthening the cooperation between the commonwealth countries for the benefits and common good of the members particularly the African members. The future outlook of the Summit accommodates political reforms, economic development and peace within the perspectives of Agenda 2063 “empowering the Youth Leadership for development in Africa”.
Then further pointed to that; Sudan has not been a member of the Commonwealth in spite of the historical links and the high potential for being a member. This brings me to say that presently it is high time for Sudan to join the Commonwealth to contribute in the fulfillment of the Common Good of Africa and control of the difficulties facing Africa development. Various challenges and obstacles are facing Africa causing increasing poverty, hunger, slow development creating strong fuel for conflicts, wars, migration and displacement.
Hilal stressed on that ; Climate Change, which is becoming a reality, represents a serious problem causing serious environmental disasters, economic crises and social conflicts. This is clearly observable in low income groups who are suffering from climate Change impacts such as scarcity of water, low productivity, unemployment, spread of disease, mortality and increasing incidents and severity of conflicts.
Sudan was well aware of the changes that the environment was facing. Since early time of the 20th century, Sudan is observing the declining trend of rainfall, continuous rising of temperature, expanding land degradation and collapse of production systems. In 1912 the British Administration in Sudan initiated solutions by establishing the soil conservation committee and by 1940 the Land Reform Act was issued to integrate natural resources sustainable management as a solution to climate variability and changes. The establishment of the department of forestry in 1901 which was followed by the establishment of the department of agriculture in 1902 is a strong indication of the importance of natural resources good management for better management of the environment.
The Sudanese minister also said that; These historical contributions of Sudan in remedy and amelioration of climate change and mitigation of impacts constituted a strong experience for Sudan to globally contribute in climate change solutions both in the field of adaptation and mitigation. Sudan signed and ratified all environmental agreements including the climate change agreement and contributed to climate solutions by fulfillment of its commitments. The issuance of Sudan National Communication reports (1998, 2003, and 2018) and the financial and technical plans of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by Sudan at the COP 21 in Paris (2015) are but limited examples.
Adding further that; These are the outcomes of my excitement and feeling of unrest that Sudan has such huge experience and knowledge coupled with rich natural resources that have to be exposed to the world. As a minister of Environment, I thought of many contributions: The strongest contribution of Sudan in the Global Climate issues is accommodated in Sudan proposal at COP 22, (2016) in Marrakesh titled “Africa Carbon Sink Initiative” which was well appreciated by all delegates. This initiative is based on the huge potentialities of Africa for absorbing the atmospheric carbon and reduction of emissions based on widely extended forests lands in African countries and intensification of agriculture to save the land for forests. The ultimate objective is to reduce global average temperature to less than 1.50. The initiative was built on the Sudan concept note stated as “Climate Justice in provision of finance, technology, capacity building and control of loss and damage”. The initiative has well been supported by the African Nations representing the AMCEN consisting of 54 countries and Sudan was the chief negotiator. And that; Sudan is prepared to join hands with African fellows towards cooperation, coordination and collaboration on issues of mutual interest within climate change perspective. Africa countries are well organized in regional partnerships such as Pan Africa forum on GGW, IGAD on drought, SADC and others which are all concerned with economic reforms and environmental protection. Sudan being in Pan Africa and IGAD is supporting cooperation between regional organizations for environmental improvement.
Also, Dr. Hilal pointed to that ; Good practices at national level to support climate adaptation/mitigation included many approaches. The human resource development in Sudan considered enhancement of the processes towards solutions for the climate change. Taking the number of experts in Sudan at the beginning of the 21st century, it was not exceeding 15 persons but now it is over a thousand because we invested in their capacity building and knowledge development. Our experts in climate change issues contribute in the annual meetings of COPs, in writing of the National Communication reports, act as volunteers as lead authors in the IPCC Assessment Reports and participants in Africa Science Climate Dialogue. In 2007, Sudan had eight experts who were lead authors in the fourth Assessment Report that was awarded The Nobel Price. At universities, the capacity of experts has been improved through development of climate change curricula at higher education departments.
Adding that ; Sudan experts have been able to plan the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) which accommodated programs and projects that are supporting Climate Resilience over the dry lands of Sudan. Implementation of the program resulted in increased productivity of farm lands, range and livestock. It is a process that aims at reversing the trends, improving livelihoods and increasing resilience.
Recently, the Ministry of Environment submitted the Environmental Law to the National Parliament and was ratified in 2017. This represents a strong breakthrough in environmental protection and climate Adaptation/mitigation. The law supports the Higher Councils for Environment and Natural resources at the national and states levels.
Sudan will continue its cooperation in driving Africa train through the lands of Africa spreading technology and knowledge until we see every African country at satisfactory economic forms and political stability where people enjoy equal rights and live better life.
He finally ; made a recommendation the following recommendation;
I recommend that “Africa tanks for Carbon Sink Initiative” proposed by Sudan is to be adopted and financed to enhance the implementation of CAS Objectives.
I strongly recommend that Sudan join the Commonwealth in order to work jointly with the Africa Bloc.
The Commonwealth Africa Initiative is a Pan Commonwealth organization with a mandate to promote the interest of the African block of the Commonwealth of Nations and foster more opportunities for Commonwealth Citizens from Africa. Through her scholarship program, trade promotion and exchange activities, as well as her forums and events, the initiative helps to foster economic prosperity for Commonwealth Nations in Africa. The initiative champions the Sustainable development, economic prosperity, security and good governance across Commonwealth countries in Africa. The Initiative is Co-Chaired by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (Former President of Nigeria and Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group) and Baroness Flather (Member of the UK House of Lords).
Africa’s political future
How Africa’s growing youth population can transform the continent will be the subject of the youth forum taking place on the final day of the Summit. Over 100 key players in the African youth development sector are expected to meet to explore reshaping the agenda for youth participating in political leadership on the continent.
Under the theme: ‘opening the space, taking the place’, the Forum on Africa’s political future will focus on the Agenda 2063 and its aim to socio-economically transform the continent through full implementation of the African Youth Charter. Part of that aim is for full gender parity with women occupying at least 50% of elected public offices.
The event is organized by the Commonwealth Africa Initiative (CAFI) in association with Oxford Business Group, GLEEHD Foundation, APO Group, IC Publications (African Review), Cornfield Group, Ben TV, Phoenix Media Group, Amayew Debrah and other partners. CAFI promotes the socio-economic interest of Africa in the Commonwealth.