WHY NOW? Africa: A project-oriented continent

Pursuant to the declaration of 26 May 2013 (the fiftieth anniversary of the OAU/AU) requesting the development of Agenda 2063 (50 year plan) to achieve the vision of Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU), adopted at its 24th ordinary session held in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia (headquarters of the Union), on 30-31 January 2015, the Agenda 2063 Framework Document and its Popular Version. The vision of the African Union is to become an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena.

The First Ten Year Implementation Plan (2013-2023) of Agenda 2063 was adopted by the same Assembly at its 25th ordinary session held in Johannesburg, South Africa on 14 -15 June 2015. The Heads of State and Government requested Member States and regional Economic Communities (RECs) to take steps to integrate/domesticate Agenda 2063 in their national and regional development plans.

By adopting the First Ten Year Implementation Plan, African leaders prescribed the acceleration of the preparation and execution of twelve (12) flagship projects and programmes that constitute an integral part of the Plan, notably: (i) the construction of an integrated high-speed train network; (ii) the Grand Inga Dam project; (iii) the establishment of a single African air transport market; (iv) the formulation of the African outer space strategy; (v) the establishment of the Pan-African e-network; (vi) the establishment of an annual Africa Forum; (vii) the establishment of the Pan African Virtual University; (viii) the establishment of the African passport and the free movement of persons; (ix) the establishment of the Continent’s Free Trade Area; (x) silence guns by 2020; (xi) the development of a commodities strategy and (xii) the establishment of African financial institutions.

Before the adoption of Agenda 2063, several continental initiatives for the structural and infrastructural transformation of the African economy were already underway, inducing a large number of projects, programmes and portfolios. The table below illustrates, summarizes the content of portfolios, programmes and projects for four (4) initiatives.

African initiatives led by the African Union Commission Number of portfolios Number of Programmes Number of Projects
1. Action Plan for the Accelerated Industrial Development of Africa (AIDA) 7 20 52
2. Africa’s Consolidated Action Plan for Science and Technology (CAP) 5 18 43
3. Vision of the mining regime in Africa in 2050 9 11
4. Infrastructure Development Programme in Africa 4 27 24
Total 24 76 119

At the continental level and according to statistics from the African Union supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 22% of Africa’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) representing $ 443 billion ($ 2016 billion x 22% in 2012) is spent annually on investment projects or fixed capital projects. In this context, it is clear that Africa can be described as a project-oriented continent. This project-orientation or need for projects to achieve strategic objectives concerns Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and member countries as well as various public and private organizations.