Africa Agenda 2063: Pathways to Realization

Published on 1st April 2014

Dr. Dlamini Zuma
Fourteen  years  ago,  during  the  debates  that  led  to  the  Millennium Declaration and Development Goals, our continent was regarded as the   ‘21st  Century’s  Development  Challenge’  and  a  scar  on  the conscience of humanity.   At the  same  time, Africa too  reflected on  its future, on  how to take the continent  out of the  preceding  two  dead  decades  for  development. Thus,  we  transformed  the  OAU  into  the  African  Union,  vowed  to tackle  conflict  in  a  coordinated   manner  and  adopted  the  New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).  

Fourteen  years  later,  Africa  is   the  world’s  second  fastest  growing region,  and  home  to  six  of  the  world’s  fastest  growing  economies.  Several  others  were  above  or  near  the  7%  threshold  for  economic  takeoff,  which Kaberuka calls the tippling point and set to double their economies in 10 years.

We  are  also  a  continent  of  the  future,  with  a young  and  growing population,   a  growing working and middle classes,  and  our abundant natural  resources,  including  land,  minerals,  gas  and  oil,  forests, biodiversity and maritime resources.  Thus,  I  repeat  with  confidence:   Africa  has  transitioned  from  being the 21st  Century’s development challenge, to being the 21st  Century’s development opportunity.  

We  do  know  from  our  history  and  that  of  others,  that  opportunities can  be  squandered  and  lost.  It  is  our  determination  not  to characterized  by  future  generations  of  Africans  for  squandered opportunities   that prompted us to embark on the process of Agenda 2063,  a  Pan  African  framework  to  rapidly  move  towards  an  Africa that is integrated, peaceful, prosperous and people - centered.   

Industrialization,  domestic  resource  mobilization, finance  and  monetary institutions -  are critical to the realization of Agenda 2063   in the  longer  term  and  the  post - 2015  development  agenda  in  the short term.   

Africa must “design a comprehensive industrial development framework that is inclusive and transformative to speed up and deepen value - addition of local production, linkages between the commodity sector and other economic sectors.”  Our discussions must assess the consolidation of nascent industrialization initiatives and sectors. This  assessment  must  look  at  the  agro - processing  sectors  in  all countries  for  cocoa,  coffee   and  other  agricultural  products   in  Coite d’Ivoire,  Ghana  and  Ethiopia;  at the  ICT  sectors  in  Rwanda  and Kenya; at the  textile   and  fashion  industries   in  West,  Central  and Southern  Africa;  tourism  and  the  blue  economies  of  Seychelles  and Senegal ,  of Mauritius  and  Madagascar;  the  fishing  industry  in  the Gulf of Guinea; at the work done by institutions such as the Central African  Forestry  Commission  (COMIFAC)  on  forest  policy convergence and with the East African Coastal forests to  promote sustainable  forestry  and  eco - tourism;   and  whether  Botswana  can indeed become the world’s leading global diamond trader.  

Industrial  policy  assessment  is  also  about  assessing  the  impact  of our  infrastructure  projects :   the  gas  pipeline  between  Nigeria  and Algeria;  the  Sahara- Sahel  transport  corridor;  the  African  Clean Energy Corridor Initiative;  the  Djibouti to Dakar transport corridor  and mother  others  -   and  whether  these   projects  not  only  contribute towards  reducing  the  cost  to  industries,  but  also  as  drivers   of industrialization,  technology transfer and skills development.  

Assessment must also check best practice in terms of industrial  and  trade  policy  instruments  -   such  as  the  local  content requirement   that  Ghana  introduced  in  its  oil  and  gas  industries;  the monetary policy  requirements  for  industrialization  and  growth discussed by the African Central bankers; the activities of  our various national  export  and  investment  promotion  councils;   the implementation  of  the  African  Mining  Vision,  and  the  impact  of  our trade partnerships on industrialization and intra- Africa trade.    

We must also know what is happening with the African private sector, both formal and informal, including the SMME sector.  In  addition, there  are  the  emerging  Pan  African  businesses,  in  cement manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, ICT and banking and the growing numbers  of  young  successful  and  innovative  African  entrepreneurs (men and women)  in virtually every country.   

Industrial  policy  won’t   succeed  without  conscious  efforts  to  build African  champions,  and  without   dynamic  dialogue  and  interactions between  government  and  the  private  sector,  at  sectoral,  country, regional and continental levels.  

Indeed,  industrial  policy  must  be  accompanied  by  our  integration efforts  towards  a  continental  free  trade  area  by  2017,  and we  must do nothing that would jeopardize this. We need the skills revolution to train hundreds of thousands more scientists, engineers and artisans, working together with the private sector and by investing in science, technology, research and innovation. 


The  two  dead  decades  of  structural  adjustments not  only  saw  stagnation  and  de- industrialization,  but  also  the destruction  of  institutional  capacity   for  industrial  policy,  support  and planning. Although we cannot turn back the clock and rebuild these capacities overnight,  we  can  leapfrog  some  of  the  challenges  through  the regional and continental institutions that we agreed to put in place, to help  all  our  countries  to  navigate  this  path  of  structural transformation.   

Discussions on the Statutes of the African Monetary Fund, and on  the  ratification  and  strategy  for  the  African  Investment  Bank  and the  African Central Bank respectively are therefore important, so that we  can  get  these  institutions  up  and  running.  We  must  also  be reminded  about  the  decision  taken  by  the  January  2014  Summit  on the African Remittances Institute.  

Domestic resource mobilisation.   

We have over the last few years studied this matter in detail, ranging from the report of former President Obasanjo presented last year on Alternate  source  of  Funding,  the  2013  NEPAD - ECA  study  on Domestic resources for African development to the  progress report of the Panel chaired by former President Mbeki on Illicit flows from the continent. All  these  studies  show  that  given  Africa’s  enormous  resource potential, we indeed have the means to invest in the acceleration of our  development  priorities,  and  in  the  process  leverage  and crowding   in  even  greater  funding  and  resources  from our  partners across the world .  

Fellow Africans, industrial policy, building institutions, even domestic resources mobilization and indeed transformation, is not done until it is done.  It is only then that we can say, as the late Nelson Mandela taught us: it is impossible, until it is done. 

By  H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini  Zuma 
Chairperson of the African Union Commission.

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