Skip to 0 minutes and 15 seconds We live in exciting times, when over six million people have been involved in global consultations about new, sustainable development goals. These goals, if implemented in an equitable manner, would transform people’s lives, protect the planet, and also eradicate poverty by 2030. My name is Hilary Homans. I’m the Director of the Centre for Sustainable International Development, at the University of Aberdeen. I’ve worked in about 50 countries globally, from community level upwards, with civil society, bilateral agencies, United Nations organisations, and with academia. In this short online course, we focus on the feasibility of sub-Saharan Africa achieving the new sustainable development goals, given the historical context, cultural diversity, and wealth of natural resources.
Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds In particular, we will be asking why in sub-Saharan Africa are some countries performing poorly on development indicators for poverty, hunger, unemployment, and maternal health, whilst other countries are forging ahead. We explore this question, drawing on the interdisciplinary expertise of 12 staff at the University of Aberdeen, from historians to rice geneticists, as well as experts from the United Nations, national governments, and development partners. I can now understand the challenges, why it’s so difficult for Africa catch up. Whatever else we may have, or we may do, if governance is not taken care of, it will amount to not much. If your pillar of your development are the people, then you reduce poverty, because the majority of the people in Africa are poor.
Skip to 2 minutes and 16 seconds So you target the majority. You have to find partners you can work with. Some countries, frankly, it’s very difficult. In which case, you have to go through civil society partners, maybe local, maybe international. But the objective, in the end, is to try and build the capacity in those countries to solve their own problems, to create economic growth that can fund tax base that will deliver health and education, and all those other things. The course is designed for anyone with a passion for humanity, human rights, and sustainable development. You will learn to think critically about development stories, past and present, to help you understand the complexity of development, and the danger of a single story.
Skip to 2 minutes and 59 seconds You will learn about the importance of development data, how robust the data are, and who is missing data sets, what we call the missing millions. The course uses academic texts, music, films, novels, to enable you to explore different ways of listening, seeing, and experiencing received wisdoms about development. We look forward to working with you, to be able to look at whether or not sustainable, inclusive development can become a reality. I’m hugely excited to hear about this course, Africa, sustainable development for all, and asking that very, very pertinent question. What I really like about the course is that it’s interdisciplinary, that you are bringing in people and academics from a number of different disciplines.
Skip to 3 minutes and 50 seconds Because in Scotland we have a huge amount of expertise, have expertise across a variety of disciplines. And where we can make a contribution is through our innovation. And where is innovation fostered? Much of it in our universities.