African leaders have a task ahead in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the continent.
This became clear at the opening Wednesday of four-day conference on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, in the capital Kigali.
Lack of updated data on national levels which is necessary for efficient monitoring of progress and funding are among the main challenges cited in the implementation process of SDGs.
Several speakers addressing the meeting discussed the challenges ahead and explored ways to address them.
Abigail Simkoko, SDGs monitoring and evaluation specialist at the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A), said most data gathering systems in Africa still use traditional paper methods for data collection and rudimentary data processes that are inefficient and costly.
As a result government data are out of date by the time they are released, making it difficult for policy makers and other stake holders to adequately plan and allocate adequate resources to achieve the development targets.
Only 96 out of 232 SDGs indicators have data at national levels.
The success of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the 17 SDGs highly depends on efficient and timely monitoring of progress, said Simkoko.
She called on African nations to have in place quality, accessible and reliable disaggregated data, to measure progress and ensure accountability in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
Assessing the current condition and prospects of National Development Banks in Africa in fostering economic development and achievement of the SDGs was another theme of the day.
Belay Begashaw, director general of the SDGC/A called for greater role of National Development Banks such as the Development Bank of Rwanda in achieving the SDGs.
According to Begashaw, Africa is putting more emphasis on ensuring access to water, health and education agenda which are vital to attainment of other goals by 2030.
Alexander Chiteme, Zambian minister of national development and planning called on National Development Banks to provide long term financing for implementation of SDGs.
African governments have funding shortfall of about $500 billion to fully reach the 1.2 trillion annual funding to achieve universal access to modern energy services, basic infrastructure, food security, health, security and climate change mitigation by 2030, according to the SDGC/A.
The conference to run from June 12 to 14 is reflecting on a three-year journey and make recommendations on the path forward towards SDGs achievement in Africa by 2030.
Participants include global, regional and national stakeholders from governments, multilateral and bilateral institutions from across Africa gathered to discuss SDGs progress since their adoption in 2015.
In 2015 world leaders committed to 17 SDGs which include ending extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice as well as mitigation of climate change among others.