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At the point of adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Africa’s starting point on almost all dimensions of development was much lower than that of other regions of the world. Thus, SDG progress on the continent determines to a large extent whether the global SDG commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ remains rhetoric or becomes reality. Local government action is critical to the achievement of the SDGs, as most services provided at the local level have a direct impact on SDG indicators. This paper reflects on the first quadrennial review cycle of the SDGs, and highlights challenges encountered in localising the SDGs in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, the paper contributes to the ongoing strategising for the remaining timeline of the SDGs and analyses the opportunities for local governments to contribute to SDG implementation. The paper also seeks to inform policy action to strengthen local capacity to drive the SDGs agenda in the ‘Decade of Action’ (2020–2030).
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