News & Media / Advancing Africa: Reflections on Agenda 2063 and the Path Forward

Advancing Africa: Reflections on Agenda 2063 and the Path Forward

05 March, 2024

he African Union's (AU) Agenda 2063 is the continent's strategic framework for transforming Africa from 2013 to 2063. It is structured into five Ten-Year Implementation Plans (TYIPs), with 2023 marking the conclusion of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan (FTYIP).

In this blog, we are honoured to welcome esteemed guests Luladay Berhanu Mengistie, MIF Fellow at the International Trade Centre (ITC), Lolan Ekow Sagoe–Moses, Associate at DLA Piper, and Alpha Bangura, Executive Director at Sustainable Education Africa, to offer their reflections on Agenda 2063 and the path forward.

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has the potential to emerge as the world's largest market, boasting a potential consumer base of over 1.4 billion people.

It is imperative to clarify the role of African integration in realising this potential while addressing pertinent limitations. Since its inception in 2015, the AfCFTA has made remarkable progress, with all 54 AU Member States signing the agreement and notable advancements in trade facilitation. However, challenges persist, particularly in harmonising trade policies and clarifying the role of regional economic communities (RECs). While African nations strive to promote intra-African trade and in a somewhat related effort reduce aid dependency, market reality and financing gaps make trade relationships with external partners and international actors crucial for development. The problem lies in the potential for trade negotiations that could undermine AfCFTA objectives.

African nations must prioritise cohesive engagement to amplify their collective voice on the global stage. Closing the financing gap for Agenda 2063's Priority Infrastructure Development Projects (PIDA) is essential but need to be attainable sustainably. Strategies encompass curbing illicit financial flows, allocating national budgets to Agenda 2063, leveraging data for decision-making, harmonising policies, and fostering innovative financing mechanisms. Through sustainable financing and cohesive engagement, Africa can progress towards a unified and prosperous future in alignment with the aspirations of Agenda 2063.

An assessment of the FTYIP reveals that only ten African countries have achieved 50% or more of the goals, with 11 countries lagging at an implementation rate of 30% or less. What accountability mechanisms can empower governments to achieve greater progress on these goals?

The AU's 2nd Continental Progress Report on Agenda 2063 identifies 'weak domestication' as a primary reason for the slow implementation of flagship projects. However, domestication is often narrowly construed as the ratification of instruments by member states. The AU must empower think tanks, civil society groups, and citizens to hold member state governments accountable for implementation to drive more significant progress. Think tanks require financial and logistical support to engage with political parties, the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, and other vital stakeholders, integrating Agenda 2063 into national agendas and manifestos. Additionally, think tanks can conduct policy research and analysis tailored to local contexts, while civil society groups mobilise citizens to demand transparency and accountability. To foster standard-setting and healthy competition, the AU should establish an annual Agenda 2063 index, incorporating data gathered by think tanks to rank member states' progress. Collaboration with regional financial institutions can integrate this index into Results Based Financing frameworks, linking grant and loan access to incremental progress on Agenda 2063 goals.

According to the FTYIP assessment, Goal 1 (A high standard of living, quality of life, and well-being) has the second lowest implementation rate among African countries, at 31%. What obstacles hinder progress, and how can African countries better achieve people-centred development?

The absence of strong institutions and ineffective leadership from citizens and elected/appointed officials impedes the attainment of Goal 1. Across some African countries, there is significant institutional redundancy during government transitions, with new administrations often prioritising divergent national agendas. Political affiliations often drive personnel reshuffles, lacking proper skills audits, thus diminishing staff output and impeding progress towards Goal 1. To enhance performance, governments should adopt merit-based systems for appointing leaders of critical institutions aligned with Agenda 2063 Goals. Establishing robust governance and monitoring systems to evaluate institutional performance is crucial. Moreover, fostering multi-sectoral collaboration among national, regional, and international stakeholders can stimulate grassroots innovation and entrepreneurship, promoting local solutions to Goal 1 challenges.

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