New York

14 September 2021

Deputy Secretary-General's video message for the ACT foundation Breakfast Dialogue

Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to join you today.

The continent faces monumental challenges most recently worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Poverty is on the rise and livelihoods have been compromised. By the end 2021, up to 48 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa may fall below the poverty line, with women disproportionately affected.

Yet there are opportunities to be leveraged urgently to accelerate COVID-19 recovery and future resilience.

The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement is one such example. It could boost the region’s combined GDP by USD $44 billion and create millions of jobs. In addition, digital transformation offers the potential to considerably accelerate trade, job creation and access to services.

Reimagining a prosperous future for Africa requires us to innovate as well as design action that is bold, ambitious and that will lead to measurable and sustainable change.

In doing so we must also harness the immense dynamism, creativity and force of Africa’s youth population. Investing in our youth and creating jobs at scale is of paramount importance.

The future must also be green, with a focus on tackling climate change. If we do not take urgent action and undertake the transitions that are needed, climate impacts may cause annual losses of between 3-5% of GDP by 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario.

A prosperous future for Africa rests firmly on the success of policy design and the ability to deliver results.

We must boost investments and improve the quality of data, statistics and information to measure progress and we must ensure vertical of policy at the national, regional and local levels and horizontal integration of across sectors that reinforces sustainable development for the future – the focus for today’s event.

The UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals provide clear targets for a prosperous future for Africa, as does the AU’s Agenda 2063. These are the commitments and priorities around which we must align for a prosperous Africa and a better future.

Thank you.