An Integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena
As Africa commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the OAU/AU in 2013, it does so with pride in the core achievements of the past, pragmatic assessment of the challenges still faced, and renewed acknowledgement of the vital importance of Pan African solidarity towards the achievement of a brighter future for all the peoples of the continent. Today, at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, there is an invigorating mood of confidence in the future of the region, similar to that which marked the 1960s when the majority of African countries became independent. Once again, Africans are proudly asserting their independent voice within the international community and setting the agenda, direction and pace of change in the region. Internationally, Africa is also once again cogently spoken of as a region of great untapped potential that is poised to play a more significant role in the global arena.
Several facts and trends certainly support the astuteness of these perspectives. Two decades ago, Africa celebrated success in its battle to free every corner of its landmass from colonial domination and racial oppression. With that long struggle over, a bold change was made to the regional institutional architecture that was epitomized by the transformation from the OAU to the African Union at the turn of the century. As part of this process new frameworks were established to improve the management of conflicts, and improve political governance and economic management. Building on this foundation, regional economic performance saw a marked and sustained improvement throughout the early 2000s, albeit from a very low base. The region’s economic growth has now averaged 5% per year for more than a decade, higher than at any other period since the early 1970s. Between 2000 and 2011, six of the world’s fastest growing economies were in Africa—Angola, Chad, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Rwanda.
While this turn around in economic performance is laudable, it lags behind the pace and length of change that was experienced in regions of the world that have successfully transformed their socioeconomic conditions and livelihoods of their populations in the past 50 years e.g. in Asia. It thus can not be disputed that significantly more action is still required on a number of fronts in order to achieve the African Union’s vision of “An Integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”.
Africans have not been short of ideas over the past 50 years. There has been substantial thinking and vigorous debate at various periods from the 1960s onwards regarding development planning approaches and the most viable frameworks to promote the effective mobilizing of Africa’s human, financial and natural resources that is critical to the achievement of the continent’s liberation from poverty, ignorance and disease. While various African countries may have been at differing times under the sway of different externally inspired approaches, a consensus vision and framework for the structural transformation and the socioeconomic development of the continent was first elaborated in the Lagos Plan of Action in 1980. This vision was then further developed in the following decades, as the regional and global context changed, and projected through the Abuja Treaty in 1990 and later the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) at the start of the new millennium.
Aiming to encourage discussion among all stakeholders, this “Agenda 2063” framework document outlines an approach to how the continent should effectively learn from the lessons of the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available in the immediate and medium term, so as to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years.
Changing dynamics within the region, and between Africa and the world (globalization), as well as the urgency of propelling the continent forward at much faster economic growth rates undeniably necessitate a stepping up of the pace. The first section of the document thus focuses on situating the current “moment” within the context of the experience of the past and analyzing how the lessons from that journey now inform the way forward. This includes a discussion of the measurements/yardsticks of success. Notably, while faster GDP growth is crucial, and is often held up by observers as proof that “Africa is rising”, this paper stresses that a focus on growth alone is insufficient. It argues instead that the impact of the positive growth rates must be more widely felt. Africa’s economic growth needs to promote greater equity, inclusiveness, the preservation of natural capital and creation of decent jobs, especially for the youth and women.
The next section elaborates this line of reasoning further by placing a strong onus on investigating the core changes that are required in how things are done (and should be done) to enable Africa to strategically respond to the rapidly evolving contemporary global landscape. It provides comparative analysis of the effect of critical global mega-trends (e.g. climate, environmental, demographic, governance/political economy, technological innovation) on Africa and other global regions, with a view to highlighting possible long term impacts that must be envisaged now, the essential challenges to address, as well as the opportunities the region must seek to exploit if it is to make significant progress and not be left behind the rest of the world. In light of the complex task ahead, it makes the case that a “paradigm shift” of approach and a change in mindset is now absolutely essential towards realizing the continental vision.
Thereafter, the main elements of “Agenda 2063” at the operational level are outlined. At its heart, this new roadmap, emphasizes the importance to success of rekindling the passion for Pan-Africanism, a sense of unity, self-reliance, integration and solidarity that was a highlight of the triumphs of the 20th century. It elucidates how a change in mindsets on how to get things done, based on the above, can best advance implementation on the ground. Africa is encouraged to take advantage of the failure of opposing externally inspired paradigms (socialist planning and the neo-liberal Washington consensus) to promote a new approach to development planning firmly embedded in its own experience, culture, capabilities and institutions. In that regard, concrete milestones to gauge success or failure along the way are specified. Finally, at the operational level the possible major risks/ threats and critical success factors are discussed in more detail. These include regional political, institutional renewal and financing/resource mobilization issues, as well as the changing nature of Africa’s relationships with the rest of the world.
See more at : http://www.iag-agi.org/IMG/pdf/Agenda-2063-AU.pdf
Publié le 2 septembre 2009