The new year 2020 marks the beginning of a promising decade for Africa. Through at least the first half of the decade, economic growth across Africa will continue to outperform that of other regions, with the continent continuing to be home to seven of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies. Collective action among African and global policymakers to improve the livelihoods of all under the blueprint of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 is representative of the shared energy and excitement around Africa’s potential.
With business environments improving, regional integration centered around the African Continental Free Trade Agreement progressing, and the transformation technologies of Fourth Industrial Revolution spreading, never before has the region been better primed for trade, investment, and mutually beneficial partnerships. The recent, unprecedented interest of an increasingly diversified group of external partners for engagement with Africa highlights this potential. Despite the continent’s promise, though, obstacles to success linger, as job creation still has not caught up with the growing youth labor force, gaps in good and inclusive governance remain, and climate change as well as state fragility threaten to reverse the hard-fought-for gains of recent decades.
One major reason to be hopeful for Africa’s progress is that the SDGs are in direct alignment with the African Union’s Agenda 2063—the continent’s long-term social and economic transformational blueprint for a prosperous continent. In fact, the two ambitious agendas align on over 85 percent of their goals, and African countries have shown enormous enthusiasm and endeavors in implementing the SDGs, with 90 percent of countries mainstreaming the SDGs into their national development plans.