Monrovia – The Government of Liberia and the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) have signed a “Host Country Agreement” that will facilitate the establishment of the first West African SDGC/A sub-regional center in Monrovia.
The SDGC/A sub-regional center in Liberia will support countries of the Mano River Union (MRU) and member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Its establishment is at the request of the MRU countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia) and comes with the approval of the SDGC/A Board of Directors.
Its establishment comes within a year of the official launch of the SDGC/A in Kigali, Rwanda and continues the organization’s commitment to fast-track the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda throughout the five regions of Africa.
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Foreign Minister, Madam Marjon V. Kamara signed on behalf of the host government; while the Director-General of the SDGC/A, Dr. Belay Begashaw, signed on behalf of his organization.
The event took place in the Foreign Ministry’s conference room on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.
In brief remarks before the signing ceremony, Foreign Minister Kamara said she was pleased and honored to have been the one signing the agreement establishing the SDGs center, the first of the sub-regional ones in Liberia.
“I think in doing this we have really come forth as the President [Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf] played a very instrumental role in the formulation, starting with being a part of the [UN] Secretary General’s High Level Panel and then becoming a part of the Panel on the Continent,” the Liberian Foreign Minister reflected, noting that it is an excellent idea having the center based here given Liberia’s role.
She stressed that the SDGs embody the aspirations and wishes of the African people and the developing world.
“This is the script for development up to 2030 and I think a center of this nature will help to keep a certain momentum going in terms of the goods that have to be achieved,” Minister Kamara noted, adding that given Liberia’s role and the fact that it will now host the center, this will be a source of pressure to deliver.
For his part, SDGC/A’s Director General, Dr. Begashaw, on behalf of the founding Board Chairman and President of Rwanda, H.E. Paul Kagame, and Co-chairman, Mr. Aliko Dangote, thanked the Foreign Ministry for their remarkable commitment to establishing the Host Country Agreement with the Center.
“I would like to thank the Government of the Republic of Liberia and Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for hosting the establishment of our first sub-regional center in West Africa,” he said, adding that through this sub-regional center his organization will offer technical support, advice and expertise primarily to the Governments of the Mano River Union countries and other stakeholders to help accelerate their implementation of the SDG Agenda for the benefit of their countries and the region as a whole.
Following a resolution of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network Leadership Council, commissioned under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, the SDGC/A opened in July of 2016.
Under the terms of the Host Country Agreement, Liberia will provide facilities and services required for the sub-regional center that will support the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2063.
The sub-regional center will focus primarily on the Mano River Union countries and will be governed, directed and will operate under the oversight of the SDGC/A headquarters in Rwanda.
It is expected that each of the other three Mano River Union countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Sierra Leone – will lend their support for the start-up and ongoing operations of the sub-regional center as well.
Through the SDGC/A sub-regional center, the Government of Liberia hopes to benefit from the expertise and experience of the SDGC/A with the intention of working with key partners to achieve the SDGs and establishing programs such as the mapping of agriculture-related policies and interventions for SDG 2 (Zero Hunger).
The Mano River Union serves as a perfect entry point for the SDGC/A to provide support to the region through strengthening their capacities on economic and social development in order to help coordinate SDG activities.
It is anticipated that the SDGC/A sub-regional center in Liberia will open during the first half of 2018.
The SDGC/A supports Africa to sustain unity and solidarity in its approach to the implementation of the transformative SDG Agenda and creates partnerships across the goals to ensure effective implementation across the continent.
The SDGC/A sub-regional centers aims to support regional partnerships and integration, and help address more regional challenges faced by countries in order for them to achieve the SDGs. SDGC/A will work with governments and other stakeholders to determine the region’s priorities and will bring in a team of experts at the sub-regional center who will focus on those priorities.
The Center was established by African leaders as Africa’s pre-eminent institution championing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the principles of African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The Center is governed by the founding Board Chairman, the President of the Republic of Rwanda, His Excellency Paul Kagame, and Co-chaired by the owner of the Dangote Group, Mr. Aliko Dangote. Other members of the Board include Heads of State, business leaders and renowned civil society activists.
With its headquarters in Kigali, Rwanda, the SDGC/A is expanding to open sub-regional centers throughout Africa in order to carry out its mandate with more focus on regional priorities and challenges.
Also present at the signing ceremony were the Minister of Finance, Mr. Boima Kamara; Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Mrs. Elfrieda S. Tamba; Head of the SDGs Secretariat, Dr. Abdoulaye Dukule; and a host of Foreign Ministry officials, including the Deputy Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Deweh Gray and the Deputy Minister for International Cooperation and Economic Integration, Mr. Dehpue Y. Zuo.