At LASU confab, experts canvass homegrown solutions to develop Africa
African leaders have been advised to develop homegrown solutions for achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The advice was given Monday by speakers at the fifth Faculty of Social Sciences’ yearly international conference of Lagos State University (LASU), with the theme: ‘Social Sciences and Sustainable Development in Africa’.
Keynote speaker, Prof. Kingsley Agomor of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) said development is everybody’s business, adding that alleviating poverty is the most important SDG that government and stakeholders must collaboratively addressed to facilitate growth.
He said: “Africa must begin to ask and work internally on questions such as, “how do we come out of poverty? What do we do to alleviate poverty? How do we develop ourselves? These are issues of sustainable development goals.”
Noting that the continent is lagging behind in human development index compared to others, Agomor stressed the need to review the SDGs and explore how Africa could localise or operationalise them for development.
He suggested that tertiary institutions should design their programmes to address the goals and other pertinent issues in the society.
Stating that the public sector has a role to play, the don pointed charged workers to champion policy formulation and implementation.
He advised universities to play a lead role in policy formulation and advocacy for sustainable development, observing that promotion of the SDGs is key for social scientists, as they also undertake research that provides solutions to development challenges.
Lead speaker and Professor of Political Science at University of California, United States, Kelechi Kalu, submitted that African nations lack the capacity or willingness to realise the SDGs goals by 2030.
He said the drafters drew from an “old play book, which advocated free market policy as a path to economic development, wealth creation and poverty alleviation.”
Kalu argued that there is no evidence that the policy has work in any country.
He, therefore, advocated a community-based approach to improve lives of Africans.
LASU Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello, represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Olufunsho Abayomi, said the underpinning issues in SDGs, which include poverty, quality education and gender inequality, could only be addressed by a deliberate effort to advance the frontiers of knowledge, research and programmes.
She urged participants to chart a path towards sustaining the goals of development by 2030 on the continent.
Chairman, Local Organising Committee, Prof. Sylvester Odion Akhaine, said Africa’s condition makes it more important to continually interrogate the question of development on the continent.
He noted that it is critical for social scientists to investigate what accounted for failure of policies such as Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and what the obstacles to the realisation of the SDGs in Africa are.
Akhaine implored the continent to look inwards for solution to eradicate poverty and harness resources in ways that are manageable, both for the present and future generations.
Acting Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Prof. Olufemi Lawal, said the theme speaks volumes about the social challenges in Africa, adding that it is not unusual for the public to look up to social scientists based on their numerous research in several fields such as economic, geography, psychology, political science and sociology for sustainable solutions.
He, thus, appealed to participants to contribute more to the body of knowledge at the conference to transform the nation and the continent.
In his remarks, chairman of the event and former Vice Chancellor of Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Ekiti State, Prof. Kayode Soremekun, called for synergy between the academics and policymakers to accelerate development.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.