…Re- assessing the key constructs of Agenda 2063
By Hilary Mare
THERE is recognition within Africa that the continent needs to tap into its own wealth to finance its development agendas, most notably the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Significant efforts have been made to map the untapped alternative sources of financing from within Africa. These show that significant resources could be raised from within Africa, enough to cover about 70 percent of the development financing needs.
Essentially, in order to achieve the AU’s vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena” significantly more action is still required on a number of fronts.
This therefore calls for a total paradigm shift. At its heart, this new African development roadmap emphasises the importance of success through the restoration of 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 calls on all of us to spare no effort in making Africa a prosperous continent.
“Agenda 2063 is our response as to what we as Africans need to do in order for us to achieve our dream of the Africa we want. The Agenda sets out the approach as 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,” Tom Alweendo, Minister of Economic Planning and Director General of the National Planning Commission said recently.
Imperatively it should be noted that critical success factors are wide and varied and amongst other factors they should include: mobilisation of African resources to finance and accelerate its transformation and integration; transformational leadership at all levels and in all fields; capable developmental states with the appropriate institutions, policies, human resources, systems and processes; change in attitudes and mind sets to strengthen pan-African values of self-reliance, solidarity, hard work and collective prosperity and building on African successes, experiences and best practices; taking charge of Africa’s narrative and brand, to ensure that it reflects continental realities, aspirations and priorities and Africa’s position in the world; integrating Agenda 2063 into all national and regional development plans; strengthening and transforming national, regional and continental institutions and the manner in which we do business, so as to effectively lead and drive the agenda for transformation and integration; learn from the diverse, unique and shared experiences of various countries and regions as a basis of forging an African approach to transformation
On the other hand risk factors include: conflict, instability and insecurity; social and economic inequalities; organised crime, drugs trade and illicit financial flows; mismanagement of diversities; the religious extremism; failure to harness the demographic dividend; escalation of Africa’s disease burden; climate risks and natural disasters; and external shocks.
The seven key aspirations of Agenda 2063 represent critical values and principles that form the foundation for African prosperity. It should also be noted, however, that the success of Agenda 2063 at continental level will depend on the progress that each African nation makes in developing themselves. The aspirations of the individual African nations have to be the same as the aspirations of the continent as a whole. Therefore, individual African nations’ development plans, strategies and agendas have to encompass these principles.
“In order to realise Africa’s aspiration, we have to overcome the hurdles that so far have prevented Africa from becoming the force it potentially can be. It requires that we accept full responsibility – that we are the masters of our own development and that relying on others to develop Africa will be unhelpful. Africa will have to be developed by African ourselves,” Alweendo extends.
It must also be noted that strong and effective institutions make a strong case for Agenda 2063. These pertain to the rules of the game in a society – for example contract enforcement, protection of property rights, the rule of law, government bureaucracies, and financial markets. Institutions in its broader meaning can also include the societies’ habits and beliefs, norms and social traditions.
There is wide-ranging evidence that institutions matter a great deal in determining the level of economic development of a country. Indicators such as the degree of protection of property rights and the rule of law are strongly correlated to economic performance. Institutions determine the costs of economic transactions: they encourage development in the form of contract enforcement and increased availability of information – all of which reduce the costs of transactions.
Institutions also determine the scope for expropriation of resources by the stronger members of a society. It is also institutions that determine the degree to which the environment is conducive to cooperation and increased social capital. Inclusive and participatory institutions increase the flow of information and the extent to which resources can be pooled to reduce risk and ensure sustained levels of wealth. Institutions strongly affect the economic development of countries and act in society at all levels by determining the frameworks in which economic exchange occurs. They determine the volume of interactions available, the benefits from economic exchange and the form which they can take.
Also essential as alluded by Alweendo, Africa needs to start focusing on her own markets first as the foundation for African exports.
“I am aware of the complaint that African goods and services are more often than not overpriced as compared to imported goods and services. While this might be the case in certain situations, it is my view that we have to accept that initially, and as part of the cost to achieve prosperity on the continent, we will have to accept to pay a premium for our products. If we are not ready to do that, we will continue to import others’ products and remain with a high number of impoverished people – indeed an unsustainable situation,” Alweendo acknowledges.
In conclusion, it is vital that African states Namibia inclusive should open discussions around the possible major risks/ threats and critical success factors. These include regional political, institutional renewal and financing/ resource mobilisation issues, as well as the changing nature of Africa’s relationships with the rest of the world.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015