Harare, (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday met with United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca) executive secretary, Dr Vera Songwe to discuss the upcoming Sixth Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARSFD) which Zimbabwe is hosting at the end of the month.
To be held from 24 to 27 February in the resort town of Victoria Falls, the conference, which is the biggest that Uneca holds, will bring together over 2 000 delegates from United Nations (UN) agencies, African governments and other development partners.
After closed door discussions with President Mnangagwa, Dr Songwe (pictured) thanked the Zimbabwean government for agreeing to host the forum.
“This is one of the biggest meetings that we as the UN in Africa host, the Africa Sustainable Development Forum and essentially we bring together all of the UN family and all of the member states of the continent to talk about the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals),” she said.
The overall aim of the SDGs is to improve the quality of life of people in all aspects by 2030, with major focus on health, education, job creation among others.
“This year is particularly important because we have 10 years to get to 2030 and it is also part of a slice of 2063 – the Africa we want-, which is the African Union agenda. It really brings everybody together to see what else we need to do to get there,” Dr Songwe said.
She said Zimbabwe represented some of the success, expectations and challenges that Africa was facing in achieving sustainable development.
“The continent can learn a lot from what you are doing in the ICT
(information communication technology) sector but you also have
challenges with climate change and its consequences,” the Uneca boss
With energy production having been hit by frequent drought, Dr Songwe
said it was imperative to look at renewable energy and the role of
regional power pools to ensure economies are not affected by power
“We are going to be bringing something like 2 000 people as the UN family to Zimbabwe to showcase all the good things that Zimbabwe has but also to look at some of the challenges of inequality, unemployment and see how we can collectively respond to those challenges,” she said.
Dr Songwe was accompanied by the UN’s Resident Coordinator in Zimbabwe, Maria Ribeiro.