Pillar 3: People-centred development

Extracted from: Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda

33. CONVINCED that the eradication of poverty in all its forms must be the overarching priority in the post-2015 Development Agenda;

34. COGNIZANT of the fact that sustainable and equitable development can only be guaranteed in Africa when people are the means and end of the economic growth process, particularly when the potential contribution of women and youth is fully realized, and that investment in children, youth and women always generates substantial development multipliers with positive effects on all sectors of the economy and society;

35. MINDFUL that Africa is witnessing a number of demographic trends including the youth bulge and increasing migration, and thus of the need to respond to the social and economic consequences of the continent’s changing demographic structure by implementing the right public policies, particularly in education and health services;

36. AWARE of the need to provide universal and equitable access to affordable and quality healthcare for all, with particular attention to improved access for people in vulnerable situations, end preventable newborn, child and maternal mortality, and significantly reduce the incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases, including mental health and cancer;

37. MINDFUL that education is the foundation for development and of the need to strive to achieve excellence in education and boost human resource capacities through improvements in the quality of learning and investment in education infrastructure, we COMMIT to:

(a) The eradication of poverty

38. This will require the empowerment of all people, including those living in vulnerable situations (including women, children, the elderly, youth, people with disabilities, rural populations, displaced persons and migrants), through inclusive growth that creates decent jobs, improved access to social protection and through the promotion of measures that ensure that no individual remains below the poverty line. In this regard, we commit to ensure that no person – regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, disability, race or other status – is denied universal human rights and basic economic opportunities.

(b) Education and human capital development

39. We must achieve excellence in human resources capacity development through an improvement in the quality of education and training by: investing in learning infrastructures; increasing the use of ICT ; ensuring higher completion rates; promoting pre-schooling, integrated adult education and tertiary education; and improving the quality and conditions of service of educators and trainers.

40. Enhancing equity will require: improving and sustaining progress on gender parity at all levels of education, with special emphasis on secondary and tertiary education; creating a positive environment for girls and boys at school; increasing the representation of female teachers, especially in science and technology; and eliminating human trafficking and child labour, thus allowing children to benefit from educational facilities for their full development.

41. In order to strengthen the school curriculum, it must include:basic rights and responsibilities of citizens; quality education beyond primary schooling; the development of entrepreneurship skills, life skills and vocational and technical training to respond to labour market demands; the provision of information and technology skills; and the introduction of age-appropriate and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education for all.

(c) Universal and equitable access to quality healthcare

42. We must improve the health status of people living in vulnerable situation such as mothers, newborns, children, youth, the unemployed, the elderly and people with disabilities by: reducing the incidence of communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases (e.g. mental health) and emerging diseases; ending the epidemics of HIV and AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; reducing malnutrition; and improving hygiene and sanitation. This can be achieved by: ensuring universal and equitable access to quality healthcare, including universal access to comprehensive sexual reproductive health and reproductive rights (e.g. family planning); improving health systems and health financing, and medical infrastructure, the local manufacturing of health equipment, (e.g. commitment to the Abuja Declaration); and setting up monitoring and evaluation, and quality assurance systems.

(d) Gender equality and women’s empowerment

43. This will require: enhancing women’s occupational mobility and eliminating gender-based wage inequality; ensuring their access to, and ownership of, land and other productive assets, credit and extension services and training; eradicating all forms of violence against women and children, and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriage; and eliminating gender-based discrimination in political, economic and public decision-making processes.

44. We must provide adequate resources to strengthen women’s voices, and ensure full and equal participation of women in all decision-making bodies at the highest levels of government and in the governance structures of international organizations, including by eliminating gender stereotyping in appointments and promotions, and building women’s productive capacities as agents of change.

45. The crucial role of women in conflict prevention and resolution, mediation and peace-building efforts, and in the rebuilding of post-conflict societies must be supported by strengthening their capacities, including leadership skills, and creating legal frameworks that protect their engagement in political and economic decision making.

(e) Leveraging population dynamics for development

46. We must improve space planning and evidence-based urban policies, and provide equitable, quality services for all age groups, supported by a monitoring and regulatory framework. This will be achieved through public and private partnerships, the strengthening of municipal revenue generation and collaboration between municipalities, scholars, ministries and civil society.

47. We must ensure the provision and implementation of adequate public policies in education and health services; create jobs, especially for youth; strengthen the linkages between migration and development; support the elderly; promote human capital development within the context of regional integration; develop innovative plans that respond to population dynamics and incorporate them into the national planning frameworks; ensure equal access to quality and affordable healthcare and social services for all; ensure equity and access to services by making them adequately and geographically available in both urban and rural areas; promote good
governance; and eliminate human trafficking, especially youth, particularly girls.

(f) Harnessing Africa’s youthful population

48. To ensure that Africa’s youth bulge is translated into demographic dividend, we must put in place policies and strategies that: strengthen entrepreneurial skills and capacity; increase youth’s access to financial services; promote decent and commensurate jobs; increase access to business advisory services and credit facilities; promote participation in decision-making processes; and support the African Union initiative to create a continental framework on demographic dividends.

(g) Improving access to sustainable human settlements

49. We are cognizant of the rapid urbanization rates in Africa and the importance of having the necessary infrastructures and amenities for an improved quality of life. We are therefore committed to expanding urban infrastructures and developing a planned approach to rapid urbanization and the emergence of new cities, as well as promoting urban and rural planning. This includes increasing decent and affordable housing; improving sanitation and hygiene services, promoting access to social and economic amenities in human settlements and increasing the efficiency of delivery and use of physical facilities and amenities, including waste management, transportation and energy.