Speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the Africa Leadership Meeting in Addis Abeba, 10 February 2019.
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Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
The African Union represents the hopes of more than a billion people.
In addition, the AU and the Regional Economic Communities are crucial elements in the multilateral system.
As we speak, great progress is being made towards establishing the Continental Free Trade Area.
At a time when multilateralism is under threat, African countries are showing the world that everyone can win by cooperating.
You adopted Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want – eight months before the 2030 Agenda was agreed at the UN.
The 17 universal SDGs are clearly reflected in the 2063 Agenda.
The SDGs add a global perspective, showing that the challenges the world is facing must be solved at the global level.
SDG 16 on peace, justice and strong institutions is one example.
Where there is conflict, there can be no sustainable development.
In fact, conflict puts development into reverse.
The effects of conflict spread quickly across borders and continents.
Preventing and resolving conflicts requires international cooperation.
Reform of the UN Security Council is overdue.
Many countries, including my own, support increased representation of Africa, as both permanent and non-permanent members.
In the AU context, more predictable financing of the African Peace Support Operations is needed.
This would help to silence the guns in conflict areas on this continent. This is in our shared interest.
A healthy climate and sustainable oceans are crucial common goods.
The oceans are our life support system.
Last year I established the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.
Our goal is to advance a new understanding that will both protect the oceans and optimise their value to humankind.
President Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Geingob of Namibia are members of the panel.
Regardless who is to blame, we are all affected by climate change.
The future of all our countries depends on global cooperation to halt global warming.
The countries you come from have plentiful renewable sources of energy – such as sun, wind and hydropower.
This means that you can be part of the solution by investing in the production and delivery of clean energy – and profit from this at the same time.
The most valuable asset in any country, however, is human capital.
Education, especially for girls, is the best investment in sustainable development.
Gender equality is a human right.
But it is also smart economics.
For Norway, the full inclusion of women in the work force has been a major factor in our wealth creation.
As co-chair of the UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocacy Group, I will of course continue to push donor countries to reach the 0.7 target for Official Development Assistance.
My own country has provided 1 % of our GNI for many years.
ODA can be a catalyst for development.
However, domestic revenue generation – not least through taxation – is paramount for sustainable development.
Both Agenda 2063 and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda make this point.
We need to see more foreign direct investments, more trade and more technology transfers.
If investment conditions are conducive, investors and businesses worldwide will always be ready to seize opportunities.
As you know, hope is not a strategy.
Hope will not end hunger or combat disease.
Hope will not educate children or end conflicts.
Leadership and hard work will.
By joining forces to achieve our goals, we can turn hope into reality – leaving no one behind.