This month, The African Union Development Agency has released a report on progress of implementation of the continent’s Agenda 2063. Agenda 2063 is Africa’s blueprint and master-plan for sustainable development and economic growth of the continent. It was adopted by the January 2013 African Union Summit. The said report highlighted important milestones regarding the implementation of the various goals in this master-plan.
Perhaps the most hopeful highlight pointed out relates to the good strides taken in relation to The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.
According to the report, fifty-four countries have signed and twenty-nine have ratified the agreement. Also, the twelfth African Union Extraordinary Summit held in Niamey, Niger in July 2019 approved the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat in Accra, Ghana.
Twenty-two signatures of legal instruments of the African Investment Bank have been registered, while twelve have registered for the African Monitory Fund.
Overall, there has so far been performance of ninety-two percent towards implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area initiative. This spells highly positive implications for entrepreneurs with Pan-African intentions and bright socio-economic prospects for the continent, generally.
Other favourable displays of performance indicated in this report included achievement of fifty six percent towards targets around attaining a high standard of living, quality of life and well-being for all and instituting a fully functional and operational African peace and security architecture. Relevant goals were attained to a tune of fifty-six and seventy-six percent respectively.
On another note though, the report was made out of data relating to only thirty-one of the fifty-five African Union states; or a fifty-six percent coverage of the continent.
This points to laxity of commitment by some individual countries on one hand, but also determination on the hand of the African Union Development Agency; that the Agency bears the resolve to move forward and exert pressure for accountability and implementation on all by having the report issued regardless of lapses in reporting participation.
There are key development cornerstones that the continent still has to address, without which there could be significant failures in many other aspect of this continent’s master-plan.
For example, a continental score of two percent against the 2019 target on agriculture total factor productivity was a red flag, in view of the continent’s exploding population that must be fed and an already huge food import bill which the continent may not sustain in future. Growth in intra-Africa trade recorded only eleven percent of 2019 targets and yet is a key need for Africa's economic independence, and by implication a cornerstone for continental liberty. Without it being addressed, the impressive gains around the African Continental Free Trade Area initiative will ultimately stall and not deliver lasting dividends.
In the same trend, performance on enhancing communication and infrastructure connectivity within the continent stood at only twenty-nine percent of of 2019 target. There were low scores on implementation of the African High-Speed Rail Network, implementation of protocols on African open skies, and the implementation of the Trans-African Highway Missing Link. Youth unemployment challenges bedevil the entire continent and as a result, youth empowerment objectives were critically missed implying youth employment efforts are overtaken by other constraining factors such as the expanding youth population.
In aggregate, the continent realized a score of thirty-two percent against the entire 2019 targets. It should be appreciated that since 1963, current efforts by African leaders are a remarkable illustration of determination to solidify the continent into one entity.
However, domestication of the continent’s master-plan by individual nations still seems difficult, and without it, the danger of failing to attain Agenda 2063 is very real.
It would seem like the level of independence of each nation to implement the agenda within their unique context will still pose a challenge, to which end there may be need for finer detail of action plans that should be adopted by all. Admittedly though, this is difficult to action in an environment of non-harmonized priorities of member states and will demand sacrificial initiatives by individual countries, to prioritize Agenda 2063 within their national plans.
The fact that the different goals within this master-plan are interlinked implies that there are critical ones which every nation must attain for the continent to record breakthrough by 2063, or even to realize reportable relevant success in the interim towards that year.
Possibly, the level of harmony required to achieve this plan necessitates active involvement of the African Union Development Agency in the different countries, or at least in those for which this involvement is deemed a key requirement.
Otherwise, the disjoint between African countries may frustrate this wonderful master-plan.
Raymond is a Chartered Risk Analyst and risk management consultant