In January 2015, African Heads of State adopted Agenda 2063, a road map of the Africa we want by 2063, the year in which the African Union (AU, originally the Organisation of African Unity, OAU) will turn 100 years old.
Most initiatives by the AU are greeted with scepticism in the form of ‘we have been there before’. The scepticism may be justified because most of the men and women who have led us have hardly led or inspired our countries, let alone our beloved continent to greater heights. Despite that unhappy history, the AU remains a source of hope in many ways.
Agenda 2063 is, in my view, a very good opportunity to be embraced by us all as Africa exorcises the ghosts of her difficult past and marches boldly and gloriously towards a century of independence.
Agenda 2063 has seven ambitious aspirations which, if attained, would greatly transform our continent:
Aspiration 1: A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
Aspiration 2: An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and vision of Africa’s Renaissance.
Aspiration 3: An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
Aspiration 4: A peaceful and secure Africa.
Aspiration 5: Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics.
Aspiration 6: An Africa whose development is people driven, relying on the potential of the African people, particularly it’s women and youth and caring for children.
Aspiration 7: Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global partner and player
To ensure that the Agenda is not stillborn, we need to take solid steps towards its implementation. In other words, we need to domesticate Agenda 2063. Firstly, let us talk about it, and loudly too.
There is a lot of excitement about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is good. Curiously though, there is hardly any talk about Agenda 2063. If we Africans are not talking about it, who will? It is very possible to link Agenda 2063 to SDGs. Let us identify Agenda 2063 champions at country level, regional economic community level and continental level. Graca Machel was here a few days ago blowing the SDG trumpet and you may ask where are the Agenda 2063 trumpeters?
Secondly, we should not stop at the talking only (something we have done exceptionally well in the past 50 years or so). We need to incorporate Agenda 2063 into domestic and regional plans and projects. For example, we are in the process of creating a National Planning Commission. To what extent will the commission be able to embrace and incorporate the ideals of Agenda 2063 into our national vision? We are also developing a National Human Rights Action Plan which should take into consideration Aspiration Number 3 on human rights, good governance and the rule of law. At regional bloc level how does Agenda 2063 feed into initiatives in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) or Common Market of East and Southern Africa (Comesa)?
Thirdly, we need to clearly identify and define the role of various key players in the realisation of Agenda 2063. The Agenda is, to a large extent, Executive driven. There is need, however, for government ministries, departments and agencies to understand their roles and do their part. Parliament too has a role to play. We may, therefore, need to ask what laws need to be passed in line with Agenda 2063. Civil society too has to identify the critical role it can play in this regard.
Fourthly, we need to identify the resources—uman, financial and otherwise—that will be deployed in pursuit of this Agenda. It is our Agenda and we should be prepared to foot the bill. No-one will be excited on our behalf. It is our thing.
As we head towards a century of our independence, let us do so with the belief that the Africa we want is possible. The Africa our fathers dreamt about decades gone by in the midst of liberation songs and wars, is now in our hands.