Is African Union’s Agenda 2063 relevant and achievable? Part II

Sunday May 24 2015

By Harold Acemah

Tomorrow, May 25, is African Liberation Day; the day will be celebrated at the African Union (AU) headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and by all member states of the AU. This will be the 52nd anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in May 1963. Africa Oyee!
Under Agenda 2063, the 53 member states of the AU have made a solemn commitment to work tirelessly to achieve a number of goals by the first centenary of the union.
The goal of the AU’s strategic plan is to accelerate progress towards an integrated, prosperous and inclusive Africa, at peace with itself, playing a dynamic role in the continental and global arena, effectively driven by an accountable, efficient and responsive commission.

The strategic plan has eight priorities translated into concrete targets which impact directly on the welfare, lives and livelihoods of Africans. One priority is to expand agricultural production, develop the agro-processing and business sectors; increase market access and achieve Africa’s collective food self-sufficiency and nutrition through smallholder agriculture, sound environment and natural resource management.

Africa’s post-2015 agenda
The strategic plan contains a statement on Africa’s post-2015 agenda which identifies some of the gaps in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and proposes priorities for the 2015 agenda. The agenda includes prioritisation of disaster risk reduction and climate change to promote human development.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) incorporated into the structures of the African Union as the NEPAD planning and coordinating agency is a programme of the African Union that seeks to eradicate poverty, place African countries, individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development, build the capacity of Africa to participate actively in the world economy and accelerate the empowerment of women. NEPAD was adopted as an integrated social and economic development framework for Africa at the 37th OAU Summit held in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 2001.

The AU/NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is one of Africa’s flagship programmes. The overall goal of CAADP is to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture and improvement of food security and nutrition and increase incomes in Africa’s largely farming based economies. Under the programme, African countries are committed to increase public investment in agriculture to 10 per cent of their national budgets and increase agricultural productivity annually by 6 per cent.
The programme is organised around four key pillars namely, land and water management, market access, food supply and hunger and agricultural research. Pillar three of CAADP Framework for African Food Security endorses the three strategic goals and five priority actions of the Hyogo Framework of Action as strategic resources to challenges related to risk management including emergency management, early warning and prevention of food crisis.

Africa climate change strategy
Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate variability and change. Climate change will lead to changes in extreme weather and climatic conditions such as drought, floods, sea level rise, storm surges, among many other hazards. African countries have and will confront a range of risks such as sea level rise, extreme weather, including intense heat, heavy rains and powerful storm surges. Some countries will continue to face risks of more challenging conditions for food, agriculture, water, health, fisheries, infrastructure and transportation.

Africa’s climate strategy seeks to enhance the adaptive capacities and resilience of member states and regional economic communities with a view to minimising their vulnerability, pursue a low carbon growth path dictated by principles of the green economy, sustainable development, and poverty reduction; and orient governance, knowledge systems, planning, and national regional/international structures to treat climate change as a development imperative. Africa’s priorities in adaptation are meant to achieve sustainable development, alleviate poverty and attain the MDGs.

Africa water vision
The Africa Water Vision 2025 focuses on equitable and sustainable use of water for social and economic development. The crucial role of water in accomplishing social and economic development goals is widely recognised. Water is clearly a major factor in socio-economic recovery and development in Africa. Water is a precious natural resource, vital for life, development and the environment. It can be a matter of life and death, depending on how it occurs and how it is managed. The Africa Water Vision has been developed as an instrument for social and economic development in Africa and as an integral part of a worldwide initiative to develop a World Water Vision.

The AU Social Policy Framework for Africa is one of the few regional frameworks that integrate risk reduction. The framework seeks to promote issues of regional social justice and equity, social solidarity and social integration; these are key disaster risk reduction concepts and tools for addressing social problems.

Is Agenda 2063 achievable?
Agenda 2063 is a good roadmap for Africa with commendable economic and social objectives, but it must follow the political goal of African unity which is the raison d’etre of both the OAU and its successor the AU. To paraphrase the great pan-Africanist, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Africans must first seek the political kingdom and the rest shall be added thereon and I agree with the great leader.

Unfortunately, Africa’s current leaders are the principal obstacles in our heroic struggle for African unity, a concept to which they only pay lip service. In order to translate Agenda 2063 into reality, Africa needs a new breed of leaders who are intelligent, selfless and truly committed to the unity of the peoples of Africa. Africa also needs leaders who are not corrupt; not greedy; who have integrity and who are true servants of the wananchi, not masters of the people. Agenda 2063 is regrettably doomed to fail unless the AU and African countries get their priorities right and their act together.

Mr Acemah is a political scientist, consultant and a retired career diplomat. [email protected]