Beyond policy and public investment: the SDG imperative

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There is only one road left to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set for Africa for 2030 and that is through sustainable businesses.The sluggish progress to date has been primarily a consequence of ‘putting all our eggs in one basket’ and expecting the state to deliver the SDGs, which it cannot. A prime obstacle in that is finance. The SDG Center for Africa estimates the financing gap to achieve the SDGs is running at between $500bn and $1.2tn a year. That is simply beyond the reach of the public sector, with the Center estimating that delivering basic state functions of health care, education, water, energy, and road infrastructure requires more than 50 per cent of the GDP of most African countries. However, for the private sector, pursuing the 2030 goals of eradicating Africa’s hunger, poverty, and inequality and improving health care will deliver its own rewards, creating business opportunities worth more than a trillion dollars a year, according to United Nations estimates. In the absence of that private sector mobilisation, progress remains achingly slow. The 2019 Sustainable Development Goal Three-Year Reality Checker Report found only five countries in Africa -Seychelles, Mauritius, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria -that had met the

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