Special to Foreign Policy

This weekend, the United Nations is set to ratify new global development goals, replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are expiring after 15 years. Amid the long parade of world leaders — including Pope Francis — who will visit Turtle Bay over the next few days, it’s easy to miss this story. But the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will shape the development agenda for the next decade and a half in countries across the globe, including sub-Saharan Africa, a region that has consistently lagged on key economic, health, education, and other indicators. Despite the obstacles they face, surveys suggest many in Africa are buoyed by recent economic growth and feel relatively optimistic about their economic future. Still, they are not quite ready to tackle development challenges on their own — most still see a need for foreign aid.

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