Thanks to an uncanny piece of timing – not to mention years of hard work by civil society, policymakers and the wider development community – the very reforms advocated by Adesina are finally finding their way to the top of the international agenda.
World leaders who rarely find common cause on bilateral issues – from US president Barack Obama to Iranian president Hassan Rouhani – delivered speeches to the General Assembly giving their fulsome support to the implementation of the Global Goals.
During a side event at the UN, attended by Adesina and hosted by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the leaders of Nigeria, Ethiopia and Zambia lined up to give their full support for the new focus on industrialisation.
For Adesina, that bilateral support and long-term framework provided by the goals offers a vital injection of momentum to his own reform agenda, particularly around private sector development.
With their references to economic growth, full employment and sustainable industrialisation, Goals 8 and 9 of the SDGs hint at a far more active role for private enterprise than that afforded by the notoriously business-shy Millennium Development Goals.
And Adesina argues that the AfDB is well-placed to aid the process by helping civil society and the public and private sectors to deliver “actionable plans that can be financed”.
“The SDGs are actually much better than the MDGs in a sense that this time it’s not just about poverty reduction, it’s really about how you create growth in a way that is sustainable.
“It also has a role for critical things in terms of the private sector, infrastructure, and the need to deploy innovative instruments to leverage domestic finance into development…the AfDB fully buys into the Goals,” he says.
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