Mahama to African leaders: ‘Flashy shopping malls not real signs of development’

President John Dramani Mahama at UN General Assemble/Photo: UN
President John Dramani Mahama at UN General Assemble/Photo: UN

Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama has challenged his fellow African leaders not to use the emergence of flashy shopping malls as a measure of development.

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Rather, he is calling on his fellow leaders to invest in Agriculture and Energy as a sure way of ensuring sustained development and improvements in standards of living across Africa. He was speaking at a dialogue session of the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

‘There must be a redefinition of what our development paradigm is,” President Mahama insisted.

According to him, “the present high consumption, wasteful societies are certainly not the model for sustainable development. If the model we must all follow is to have flashy shopping malls filled with all kinds of consumer goods, glitzy new lights and the attractions we see in the big cities of the developed world, then we need six more planets like health to sustain humankind”.

To this end, President Mahama identified the Sustainable development goals as critical to the survival of mankind and called for a concerted effort from world leaders to achieve the goals.

In Particular reference to Africa, President Mahama identified Goals 2 and 7 of the sustainable development goals as critical to the continent’s economic growth and transformation.

The Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, is composed of 17 goals and 169 targets to wipe out poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change over the next 15 years.

The aim of the Goals which has been adopted by world leaders is to build on the work of the historic Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which in September 2000, rallied the world around a common 15-year agenda to tackle the indignity of poverty.

According to President Mahama, Africa must strive to access its comparative advantage in Agriculture and Energy to maximize its attainment of the goals.

He made reference to enough arable land and sunshine in Africa as a particular case in reference and says while all the goals are critical for Africa, that of Energy and Agriculture remains key.

He was optimistic that with conscious and dedicated investments in Agriculture- focusing on agro-processing amongst others- Africa has a huge potential of achieving most of the goals.

He identified the challenge energy poses to development particularly on the African continent and called on leaders to ensure that the challenges are addressed. Meanwhile, President Mahama and President Obama are expected to address the closing session of the Sustainable Development Goals conference at the United Nations today.

President Mahama has underscored the importance of goals number 2 and 7 of the newly adopted Sustainable Development goals to Africans.

The sustainable development goal 2 seeks to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture” while goal 7 seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

According to President Mahama, the achievement of the SDGs will help to foster sustainable growth and transform the African Continent.