News & events


From Durban to Paris: Placing Africa on the path of achieving Sustainable Development Goals

24 April 2017


The United Nations Summit held in 2015 in New York epitomised a turning point to the World’s development aspirations.  It adopted the post-2015 development agenda and a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It can be argued that indications of convergence towards successful agreement emerged during COP 17 in Durban. This became a reality in Paris when successful negotiations  were  concluded  at  COP  21.  This  link  between  Durban  and  Paris  points  to  an interesting connection between South Africa and France, as countries that were instrumental in forging the current global agenda for development. Closer ties and coordinated efforts between France and South Africa could therefore go a long way to ensure stability and sustainable development. In the development space the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have replaced the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as a new, post-2015 development agenda. Concurrently, the African Union has created a blueprint for Africa’s development in the form of Agenda 2063 “The Africa we want” framework.

Against this background, a shift in the balance of influence among Africa’s development partners has been observed. In this new development paradigm, France and South Africa, leveraging their regional influence in Africa, could provide guidance and give impetus to the realisation and implementation of Agenda 2063 and sustainable development goals on the continent, re-directing the focus of the continent from conflict to constructive development. Particularly as the sustainable development goals are considered to be a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity, that seek to promote universal peace. The success and failure during the MDGs epoch provide important lessons for Africa. As it is widely documented, most programmes that sought to achieve millennium Development Goals in Africa were donor funded, with additional support coming from emerging economies. Despite this, efforts to achieve MDG-based targets have had some stimulus in taking
Africa forward.  It improved the lives of most people in Africa. It can thus be said that in spite of food, energy, financial and economic shocks, Africa benefited substantially from the MDGs era.

A number of the MDGs were successfully incorporated into national development plans and strategies of most African countries. The MDG progress and gaps monitoring has forced these countries to continue to allocate resources towards the achievement of MDGs. As a result some of the poorest countries in Africa have made improvements in areas such as education and health. For example, in Ethiopia and Tanzania, primary school enrolment rates have doubled. Malawi and Algeria have become food exporters. Rates of HIV infection have fallen significantly in Sub-Saharan Africa, while reported malaria cases have been halved in countries like Rwanda and Zambia. While these achievements have been attained through MDGs, loopholes still exist with regard to the implementation of the programmes, as well as the capacity to monitor and evaluate the impacts in general. Poverty and inequality is also a persistent challenge in Africa. A major criticism of the MDGs is that they missed out on crucial dimensions of development such as human rights, good governance and security. In most countries, civil society has been excluded from the planning and formulation of development strategies and there has been a major failure to integrate the private sector as a crucial development actor.
This leaves a question of whether Africa will be able to achieve the seventeen sustainable development goals. If so what developmental path Africa shall follow to be able to achieve most of the sustainable development goals.

Workshop: Scope and Topics

Based on the need to provide a pausible answer to the above question as well as the need to develop critical path for Africa to achieve sustainable development goals , the purpose of this project is to produce eighteen publishable research articles that analyse Africa’s potential to achieve each of the seventeen sustainable development goals.  Articles will be published as a peer- reviewed edited academic book volume. Information contained in the articles will seek to highlight strength, weaknesses and opportunities for African states to achieve sustainable development goals. Information to be generated through articles will be useful to countries that are interested in assisting African countries to develop effective programmes linked to Sustainable Development Goals.

Editors are planning a research team workshop with prospective contributors. Workshop will take place on the 24th -26th of April 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa. Prospective chapter contributors are invited to express their interest to participate in the workshop and identify a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG).   Expression of interest in the form of short biography and main publications  in  the  area  of  sustainable  development  must  be  submitted  to  Ms  Ndiyamtanda Matshoba at

Kindly note that limited provisions will be made for travel and accommodation. Skype facilities will be available for those who will not be able to attend in person. As the book will be a peer-reviewed edited academic publication, no per diem nor payment will be issued for the contributing authors.

The workshop will provide a platform to achieve the following goals:

– Firstly, to bring together researchers with a solid background and strong research interests for each
of the book chapters.
– Secondly, the workshop will be a venue to provide a forum for researchers from diverse background to share their results on past MDGs and newly defined SDGs in Africa and brainstorm on the book chapters preferred methods and outlines.
– Thirdly, as a result of the discussion, researchers will be expected to present how they intend
to contribute to the book (content and methods), identify leading author and commit to
submit a first book chapter’s outline for December 2017, prior to a second workshop in 2018.
Book chapter drafts will be expected in 2018 and the book estimated publication will be in 2019.

The book will be composed of an introduction on ‘Highlights of Africa’s achievements under MDGs’ and a conclusion on ‘Africa’s contribution to Sustainable Development Goals’ [to be written by editors]. The chapters will address Africa’s prospect of achieving the seventeen SDGs. Kindly note that the book structure will be discussed with participants during the course of the workshop.

Sustainable Development Goal No1: End Poverty in all its form everywhere

SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and promote agriculture
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives for all
SDG 4: Ensure quality education for all
SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
SDG 6: Ensure water and sanitation for all
SDG 7: Ensure access to modern energy
SDG 8: Promote economic growth and decent work for all
SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure
SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries
SDG 11: Make cities safe and sustainable
SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change
SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use
SDG 15: Protect ecosystem and reverse land degradation
SDG 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
SDG 17: Strengthen the global partnership for sustainable development

Regarding the methodology, research teams and future papers shall use an all-inclusive approach involving both qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods in this study. Methods used to collect and collate information shall include review of relevant and existing literature, data search, analysis of collected data using cutting edge methodologies both empirical and non-empirical. The general aim will be to use an all-inclusive approach towards sourcing data and information.

For further information you may contact book editors and workshop coordinators:

Dr. Thokozani Simelane at the Human Sciences Research Council.

Dr. Emmanuel Sekyere at the Human Science Research Council.

Dr. Agathe Maupin at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the French research laboratory LAM, UMR 5115, University of Bordeaux.

Prof. Jean Albergel at the French Research Institute for Development (IRD).