Africa SDG Index Finds Stagnating Progress, Calls for Accelerated Action
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The second annual report on the progress of African countries towards the SDGs features data on 52 African countries.

The report finds the “most frequently-observed trend is stagnation,” particularly for SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 16.

The report identifies a lack of understanding among governments on what it will take to achieve the SDGs, and states that a lack of funding and resources is “the single most significant challenge” in both SDG implementation and monitoring.

14 June 2019: The SDG Center for Africa (SDGC/A) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) released the 2019 Africa SDG Index and Dashboards Report. The report calls for accelerated action to address poverty (SDG 1), infrastructure and innovation (SDG 9) and environmental sustainability (SDGs 12, 13, 14 and 15, among others).

The second annual report on the progress of African countries towards the SDGs features data on 52 African countries. Libya and the Seychelles are not included, due to insufficient data coverage.

The Index ranks countries on a scale from 0 (the worst score) to 100 (the best score). Tunisia’s score of 66.01, the highest score in Africa, suggests that the country is 66% of the way towards achieving the SDGs. Following Tunisia, the top five countries are all in North Africa: Mauritius, Algeria, Morocco and Cabo Verde.

The lowest performing countries are fragile States with high levels of poverty: South Sudan, Central African Republic and Chad scored 29.2, 36.7 and 38.7, respectively. Central Africa performed the worst overall as a region. The average score across all African countries is 52.3, suggesting that Africa as a whole is just halfway to realizing the SDGs.

Overall, African countries performed poorly on SDG 1, SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 9, SDG 11, and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). African countries performed comparatively well on sustainable production and consumption (SDG 12) and climate action (SDG 13). Across all Goals, the report finds the “most frequently-observed trend is stagnation,” particularly for SDG 1, SDG 2 (zero hunger), SDG 3, SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7, SDG 9 and SDG 16.

The report identifies gaps in governments’ understanding of the distances to SDG targets.

The report shares findings from a survey on government implementation. It finds 89% of African governments have officially endorsed SDG implementation, while 76% of governments have launched a formal process to map the alignment of existing national strategies. In addition, 63% of African governments have identified key national priorities in implementing the SDGs. An additional 24% plan to do so. At the same time, the report identifies a lack of understanding among governments on what it will take to achieve the SDGs, gaps in country understanding of the distances to SDG targets, and “very little consideration” for mobilizing financial resources. The report states that a lack of funding and resources is “the single most significant challenge” in both SDG implementation and monitoring.

The report also finds that less than half of African countries have conducted awareness-raising activities. Only four countries (Gabon, Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria) have a stand-alone website where citizens can view SDG progress. The authors suggest a need to “significantly” improve government engagement with the public and other stakeholders.

Additional challenges in implementing the SDGs relate to lack of adequate data and poor data quality, lack of capacity among civil society and the civil service, lack of policy coherence and coordination across levels of government, lack of effective linkages between budgeting and policy planning, lack of public budgeting execution mechanisms, and lack of political will.

The report observes that a high proportion of African countries have not yet engaged with the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process. To date, 19 African governments have conducted VNRs; an additional 16 African countries are expected to present VNRs in July 2019. This will leave 19 out of the 54 UN Member States in Africa as not having conducted a VNR.

On monitoring, the report finds there is data for only 40% of the global SDG indicators, and that data gaps “are particularly egregious” in African countries. There are wide disparities in statistical capacity across the continent, and common challenges relate to data collection and processing, technical capacity and the adoption and application of international statistical standards and technologies. In addition, the report finds that the full integration of data frameworks between the 2030 Agenda and the African Union’s (AU) 2063 Agenda “is not complete.”

The report recommends that countries consider how to improve and accelerate government-led efforts to implement and achieve the SDGs. As an example, the report suggests that countries organize an “SDG Day” to reflect on national progress towards the SDGs, consider how government efforts can enhance SDG progress, and identify opportunities for disaggregating SDG metrics by region and household to design policies that leave no one behind.

The report also features case studies to illustrate SDG best practices. These focus on: the African Business Coalition for health SDGs; agro-processing industrial parks in Ethiopia; regional integration in the East African Community; socio-economic investment and environmental impacts of mines in Zambia; and jobs and Tunisia’s digital global economy.

The 2019 Africa SDG Index and Dashboards Report emphasizes that its findings cannot be compared to the findings of the 2018 Africa SDG Index and Dashboards Report because of methodological changes. In addition, the 2018 report analyzed the progress of 11 countries in implementing the SDGs, while the 2019 edition analyzes 52 countries. [Publication: 2019 Africa SDG Index and Dashboards Report] [SDSN Press Release]

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