The Africa we want is possible. Let’s face neither east nor west, but face forward. “I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me”. “It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world”. – Dr. Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Happy 66th Independence celebration to all Ghanaians as the Volta Regional capital of Ghana – Ho, also known as the oxygen city of Ghana hosts this year’s celebration. Oxygen city of Ghana because Ho is a city of serenity and presents a perfect pummel of an attractive, clean environment for rest and rejuvenation of the body and mind as well as a nice topography with very little pollution levels compared to Greater Accra and other regions in Ghana. The region is home to a number of historic tourist sites to include Wli, Tagbo and Tsatsadu falls, Amedzofe village, mountain Gemi and Afaja (Afajato), Tafi Atome monkey sanctuary and cultural village, Kyabobo National Park, Kpetoe Kente Weaving Village, Avu-Lagoon Xavi, Fort Prinzenstein, the ancestral craves of Leklebi, kalakpa game production reserve, Atorkor slave market as well as Cape St. Paul Lighthouse, among others. We encourage you to visit to see Ghana this March also known as Ghana Month. To experience Ghana, try to eat our local foods, visit our tourist sites, feel the Ghanaian hospitality and invest in Ghana the commercial city of Africa. Woe zor to Ghana @66 – welcome to Ghana at 66.
Why invest in Ghana? There is availability of skilled and trainable labour, with one of the most competitive minimum wages in the West African sub-region. The country possesses one of the highest literacy rates in the West African sub–region and has a growing middle class population. With a stable democratic climate, it is geographically closer than any other country to the centre of the planet with an average of 8 hours of flying time to Europe and the Americas. Ghana has been ranked the second most peaceful African country in the world, according to the 2022 edition of the Global Peace Index report for 2022.
How do we drive investment to the transformed Ghana with the agenda 2063 master plan and blueprint for the continent as we celebrate 66 years of our independence as a people? What will be the future of Ghana’s economy? What opportunities exist in Ghana – now the commercial city of Africa – as Ghana plays host to the AfCFTA secretariat for trade, tourism, education and more? And what challenges do we envisage ahead of global supply chain shortage, post-pandemic and climate change issues at minimum?
Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa begins with a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development, where an integrated continent is politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance. An Africa where good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law is observed and protected. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah declared: “The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it’s linked up to the total liberation of the African continent”. The political and economic imperative in-built in the message of African Unity was mostly expressed in many of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s statements and messages. 66 years down the line, how has Ghana’s independence linked up to the total liberation of the African people brought prosperity to the Ghanaian people and by extension the African continent? This is food for thought!
An Africa which is peaceful and secure, with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of the African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children is the ideal Africa we want. An Africa which is strong, united, resilient and influential with global players and partners is the ideal Africa we want.
The blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa must consider and work toward an Africa which has an integrated high speed train network with an African commodities strategy which has established a functioning African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) operating an African passport where free movement of people is enabled and not perceived free moment with porous borders. The Africa we want must silence the guns, be able to implement the grand INGA Dam project and establish a single African air-transport market, an annual African Economic Forum, an African financial institution, the Pan–African e-network, the Africa outer space strategy, an African virtual and E-University, be able to put in place a cyber-security, a great African museum as well as an encyclopaedia about the continent. Writing my new book, I needed local content with reference to the African people which wasn’t available in most instances, and even when available, it is not very timely nor up-to-date.
The Africa we want is possible and attainable, but we first need a changed mindset to accept this reality as we pull in investment for development. The complete Africa-nisation of our body, soul and might is needed now more than ever. I want to encourage you to see the glass as half full and not half empty as an expression of optimism as we celebrate Ghana’s 66th Independence Day this March 6, 2023. I envision the Africa we want is possible when we know about it, work toward it, and build it together! It’s the power of choice. Let’s emancipate ourselves also from mental slavery and accept the grass is greener here in Africa because we have and possess most rich natural mineral resources. We need that changed mindset first.
The foreign media portrays Africa as poverty-stricken and needy, which is far from the ideal truth – a situation which will not pull in the right investment. Africa must tell the African story the African way. The ideal Africa we want must not wait for other continents to tell its perceived story misconstrued from the ideal reality.
Africa is not a country, but a continent! And civilisation began in Africa. The current population of Africa is 1,426,222,809 as of Saturday March 4, 2023 based on the latest United Nations estimates. The Africa we want must invest into its own research. Most often than not, one is tempted to quote other sources due to non-availability, and in some cases, lack of relevant data on some issues. The narrative is however changing for the best, which is a welcoming news as African-centred research are being launched in recent times in several fields. Kofi Annan is quoted to have said: “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress in every society, in every family”. Let’s then know and understand the Africa we want in the Agenda 2063 blueprint.
The world’s population reached 8 billion as of November 15, 2022, according to the latest United Nations estimates and revisions from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division which was released in 2022. It is projected to reach 9 billion in 2037, and 10 billion people in the year 2058. It is said to have doubled in 40 years from 1959 when we were 3 billion people to 1999 when we were 6 billion. We are currently (2022) growing at a rate of around 0.84 percent per year, adding 67 million people per year to the total, according to 2022 estimates from the United Nations. This means that the world is increasingly African; and by the year 2030, of every four persons you meet on the planet earth, one will be an African. Our adherence to our value system and family heritage is supporting this agenda, I believe. While a typical African family, by observation, averagely equals four (4) members – father, mother and two children at least, that of the west equals 2.5 – father, mother and a dog. The No Kid Movement is rising, and so is the LGBTQ++ hopeful and ready to add up and increase its abbreviation of the odd normal, bedevilling this beautiful world. The Africa we want must refuse to accept and endorse these stances at minimum to support and protect our family systems and heritage as children are seen as gifts from God.
According to The Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor of the African Union, the Africa we want must encompass the components mentioned earlier. AGENDA 2063 is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. It is the continent’s strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goal for inclusive and sustainable development, and is a concrete manifestation of the pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
The genesis of Agenda 2063 was the realisation by African leaders that there was a need to refocus and reprioritise Africa’s agenda from the struggle against apartheid and the attainment of political independence for the continent which had been the focus of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) – the precursor of the African Union – to prioritise inclusive social and economic development, continental and regional integration, democratic governance, peace and security, among other issues aimed at repositioning Africa to becoming a dominant player in the global arena.
As an affirmation of their commitment to support Africa’s new path for attaining inclusive and sustainable economic growth and development, African heads of state and government signed the 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration during the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the formation of the OAU /AU in May 2013.
The declaration marked the re-dedication of Africa toward the attainment of the Pan African Vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena, and Agenda 2063 is the concrete manifestation of how the continent intends to achieve this vision within a 50-year period from 2013 to 2063, thinking of the Africa of the future.
The need to envision a long-term 50-year development trajectory for Africa is important as Africa needs to revise and adapt its development agenda due to ongoing structural transformations; increased peace and reduction in the number of conflicts; renewed economic growth and social progress; the need for people-centred development, gender equality and youth empowerment; changing global contexts, such as increased globalisation and the ICT revolution; the increased unity of Africa which makes it a global power to be reckoned with and capable of rallying support around its own common agenda; and emerging development and investment opportunities in areas, such as agri-business, infrastructure development, health and education as well as the value addition in African commodities.
Agenda 2063 encapsulates not only Africa’s aspirations for the future, but also identifies key flagship programmes which can boost Africa’s economic growth and development, and lead to the rapid transformation of the continent.
Agenda 2063 also identifies key activities to be undertaken in its 10-year implementation plans which will ensure that Agenda 2063 delivers both quantitative and qualitative transformational outcomes for the African people.
Africa’s 7 aspirations for the future
Agenda 2063 seeks to deliver on a set of seven aspirations each, with its own set of goals which, if achieved, will move Africa closer to achieving its vision for the year 2063. These 7 aspirations reflect our desire for shared prosperity and well-being, for unity and integration, for a continent of free citizens and expanded horizons where the full potential of women and youths are realised, and where freedom from fear, disease and want becomes the way forward.
- 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 the 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:An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics.
- Aspiration 6:An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youths, and caring for children.
- Aspiration 7: Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner.
The 15 flagship projects of Agenda 2063
The flagship projects of Agenda 2063 refers to key programmes and initiatives which have been identified as key to accelerating Africa’s economic growth and development as well as promoting our common identity by celebrating our history and our vibrant culture. The flagship projects encompass infrastructure, education, science, technology, arts and culture as well as initiatives to secure peace on the continent. It includes:
- Integrated high speed train network.
- Formation of an African commodities strategy.
- Establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
- The African passport and free movement of people.
- Our ability to silence the guns by year 2020.
- Implementation of the grand INGA Dam project.
- Establishment of a single African Air-Transport Market (SAATM).
- Establishment of an annual African Economic Forum.
- Establishment of the African Financial Institutions.
- The Pan–African E-Network.
- The Africa outer space strategy.
- An African virtual and E-University.
- Cyber security in Africa.
- The Great African Museum.
- Encyclopaedia Africana.
The establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to information available from the AfCFTA Secretariat, AfCFTA is the largest free trade area in the world measured by the number of countries participating, with a combined gross domestic product of US$3.4trillion as it connects 1.3 billion people – now 1.4 billion people – across the 56 countries. As at December 2022, 54 out of the 55 member-states of the AU had signed the AfCFTA agreement. 44 African countries have deposited their instrument of ratification with the African Union Commission. The interesting bit of the discuss is that AfCFTA has the potential to lift 30 million people from extreme poverty as it is expected to boost Africa’s income by some US$450billion by the year 2035, representing a 7 percent gain.
The creation of this single market for goods and services will allow African countries to trade among themselves duty-free and quota-free. The agreement to establish this AfCFTA was signed far back in March 2018 in Rwanda on the 21st day in Kigali; however, trading officially commenced on January 1, 2021 – two years down the line. And commercially, meaningful trading also officially started in October 2022 – exactly on the 7th day of the month.
The creation of this one single market for goods and services will facilitate the movement of people in a bid to deepen the economic integration of the African continent. As an objective, this ideal prosperous Africa must promote its development to be people-driven; this, it can achieve by creating a free market for goods and services, where the possibility of successive rounds and negotiations are possible. When AfCFTA is people-driven, this will contribute to the movement of capital and natural persons, which will facilitate investments building in party states. A people-driven Africa must promote, as an objective, an industrial development achieved through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development, food security, among others.
When it is people-driven, it will create and increase employment for the people of each African country, enabling the citizens to take advantage of economies of scale and become more competitive. It will also support the countries to enjoy better terms of trade while promoting favourable market access to the largest single market.
To become a member, African countries are expected to sign the agreement and deposit their instruments of ratification with the African Union Commission. Ghana has been a state party to AfCFTA since May 2018.
To export under this trade arrangement, there are some conditions to be met. For the start, one must comply with the AfCFTA rules of origin; goods must be in the liberalised tariff schedule of the destination country; amongst other additional procedures to be looked at in subsequent editions.
Baptista is the author of the book Prepare for the Future of Work and the CEO of FoReal HR Services in Ghana. As a Hybrid professional, building a team of efficient & effective workforce is her business. Affecting lives is her calling! She is a public and keynote conference speaker, a professional connector and a researcher. You can reach her via e-mail on [email protected]. Follow her social media pages @Sarahtistagh and the hashtag #theFutureofWorkCapsules #FoWC, #forealhrservices #TheAfricaWeWant