Africa’s SDGs progress uneven, accelerated efforts required to meet the 2030 deadline - new report

October 9, 2023

The launch of the report.


Africa’s progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the aspirations, goals, and targets of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 has been uneven, with significant differences among sub regions, countries, and rural and urban areas. The latest Africa Sustainable Development report calls for accelerated efforts to ensure that Africa achieves the global goals by the 2030 deadline.

The 2023 report, titled “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and African Union Agenda 2063 at all levels”, was released on the margins of the 78th United Nations General Assembly. It was produced by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB). 

The report assessed Africa’s progress in implementing the SDGs and the African Union’s Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, amidst unfolding crises. Its findings suggest steady progress on key SDG targets, particularly on 4G mobile network coverage, access to safe drinking water, and electrification rates. 

“Africa’s steady progress on the SDGs is commendable. It is heartening to learn that the continent is on track to achieving some targets particularly the goals related to innovation and technology, which are powerful enablers for advancing Sustainable Development,” noted Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, UNDP.

The report warns that although Africa is making progress toward the achievement of the SDGs, the number of on-track targets is less than the number of targets that require acceleration or reversal. It calls for timely interventions to accelerate countries’ progress on key SDGs and the Agenda 2063 aspirations, goals, and targets. 

“Africa must create green growth by adding value to its green minerals. This green growth through green minerals must be central to Africa's SDG rescue strategy. Africa also needs scaled-up concessional financing to regain momentum on the SDGs and the Agenda 2063”, António Pedro, Acting Executive Secretary of ECA stated.

The 2023 Africa Sustainable Development Report focused on five key SDGs, highlighting progress, the challenges and the numerous opportunities for improving Africa’s development prospects. 

“We are aligning the African Union Agenda 2063, the UN Sustainable Development Goals and, and the AfDB’s High-Fives agenda through a study on key actions to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development in Africa”, H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Minerals of the African Union Commission noted at the launch. 

Among the key findings:  

  • On SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), African countries have improved access to safely managed drinking water services, but a significant disparity remains between rural and urban areas. Three in five Africans, or 411 million people, still lack safely managed drinking water. Also, only Egypt and Tunisia out of the 48 countries assessed are on track to achieve universal basic sanitation by 2030. The report calls on African countries to invest in water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure, and to strengthen integrated water resource management capacity.
  • On SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), the report finds that electrification rates have increased, but the use of clean cooking fuels and technologies remains limited. Also, the shift from non-renewable to renewable energy is slow. The report calls for funding increases for infrastructure and technology to boost sustainable power generation across Africa.
  • For innovation, industry, and infrastructure (SDG 9), the report reveals that Africa is on track in terms of its mobile network coverage, and based on current trends, the continent will meet the relevant Goal 9 target by 2030. The report therefore calls for acceleration of rural road construction and expansion to achieve rural connectivity and regional integration to bridge the urban-rural divide. This, according to the report, will advance intra-African trade and thus facilitate the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
  • In terms of sustainable cities and communities, (SDG 11) the report’s findings suggest a modest overall decline in the share of Africans living in urban slums. It recommends greater investment in infrastructure to improve access to public transport, waste management, and air quality in African cities.
  • Concerning partnerships, (SDG 17), mobilizing funding remains a challenge for African countries. The report calls for higher levels of domestic resource mobilization and efforts to address debt vulnerabilities.

“Harnessing Africa’s green growth opportunities requires significant efforts in putting forward a strategic vision and governance structure, ensuring sectoral planning, allocating adequate budgetary resources, and establishing sound institutional and coordination arrangements”, noted Gerald Esambe Njume, Principal Climate Change and Green Growth Officer at AfDB at the report launch. 


For more information and interview requests, please contact:

Praise Nutakor, Communications and Partnerships Specialist, UNDP, 
Mercy Wambui, Chief, Communications & Media Relations Section, ECA, 
Emeka Anuforo, AfDB Communications and External Relations Department,   
Esther Azaa Yambou, Head, Information Division, African Union Commission,