Blueprint for an integrated approach to implement Agenda 2063
This synthesis paper offers a broad framing of the kinds of historical and contemporary issues, which would be useful to consider in fleshing out the proposed African Agenda 2063. In doing so, it re-interprets the African historical experience and some of the key moments in the quest for the pan-African ideal. It does so to underscore the point that the core pillar and contribution of Agenda 2063 must be to help translate centuries of efforts to regain freedom, and to rebuild the self-reliance and dignity of Africans into an agenda for individual and collective renaissance. The paper also identifies some of the possible challenges to which the Agenda must respond if it is to be effective and relevant, the existing policy and institutional pillars into which it fits and on which it must build, and a broad menu of issues which would need to be further reflected upon towards its full-fledged articulation. A set of background papers annexed to this synthesis offer a more in-depth assessment of some of these issues, as a foretaste of the kind of additional technical work required in the course of articulating a robust 2063 Agenda for the continent.
Agenda 2063 comes at a time when all the right indicators exist for a favourable regional and internal climate for transformative change. This begs the questions: first, to what extent can Agenda 2063 provide new direction in African development that is organic to the interests and needs of the people? Second, if it is to differ from past development experiments, what are the key levers and drivers for the needed transformation? Agenda 2063 is coming at a time when the neo-liberal development models are giving way to realism and when nearly all African countries are committed to a Long-term Continental Agenda on integrated sustainable development. Moreover, subregional cooperation and integration are enjoying a renaissance with the adoption of various subregional sectoral development programmes aimed at promoting subregional production networks and intra-African trade. The Continental Agenda comes against the backdrop of the adoption, under the support of the African Union, of a plethora of subregional/continental standards, frameworks, goals, and targets that span the entire field of socio-economic development.
In order to capitalise on these favourable conditions, Agenda 2063 should secure effective interface with national plans, subregional initiatives and continental programmes. In considering imperatives for effective interface among national plans, regional development initiatives and continental processes it is important to check the compatibility of key components of a typical plan, the roles of various actors and the time frame. Member countries should properly domesticate a long-term development agenda, ensuring that the objectives and plan of action of their respective national development plans flow from Agenda 2063. The key elements of an effective transformation agenda for Africa should comprise: a declining share of agriculture in GDP and employment; the transformation of rural areas into vibrant hubs of agri-business and industrial activity; the rise of a modern industrial and service economy; the translation of Africa’s youth bulge into a demographic dividend; access to social services that meet minimum standards of quality, regardless of location; reduced gender inequality; and progression towards an inclusive green growth trajectory. Africa’s reflection on its own future should be on how to foster inclusive prosperity, reduce potential for violent confrontations and create conditions for peaceful co-existence.
NEPAD’s role shall be to guide and promote sub-regional growth initiatives through thematic programs within the framework of Agenda 2063. The NEPAD programs, ranging from economic and social challenges to specific projects (such as the 54 PIDA infrastructure projects) seek to promote strategic regional initiatives in order to provide the necessary momentum and the enabling conditions for solid growth. However, the states must face the domestic challenges of producing added value in order to create growth. NEPAD must address the challenges of guiding the economic partnerships between African countries and their major emerging partners, so that the use of resources is counterbalanced with the ownership of production techniques, in order to avoid the partial plundering of the continent in the twenty-first century.