Agenda 2063 a Decade on: Stakes of Poverty in Africa

Rooted in Pan-Africanism and aspiring in reawakening Africa to a desired continent is enshrined in the African Agenda 2063. This 50-year long-term vision is a robust instrument that provides a framework for addressing past injustices and making Africa a prosperous, inclusive, and recognized region in the 21st century. Being unable to have drinking water, clothing, shelter, food, and electricity are major problems faced by most African countries with about 460 million persons living in extreme poverty and consuming less than US $1.90 per day in 2022. These persons represent about 33.3% of the African population estimated at 1.4 billion.  In some sub-Saharan African countries like Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan, about 75% of the population lives in extreme poverty compared to Northern African countries (Saleh, 2021) with less than 3% living in extreme poverty conditions.

Also, poverty in Africa can be seen as a transient issue caused by short-run economic and political variations like conflicts and insecurity. This has engendered a long-run situation of chronic poverty thus, affecting the socioeconomic structures of the region. Despite Africa’s numerous human and natural resources, the region remains the poorest region as compared to the rest of the world. The 2019 World Bank Africa report on the continental poverty rate reveals that the number of people living below the poverty line has increased between 2013 to 2021.

Assessment of Living Standards in Africa a Decade after the Implementation of Agenda 2063

A decade after the implementation of Agenda 2063 the quality of life has seen an improvement, especially in terms of drinking water and sanitation. In 2013 safe drinking water and sanitation, were targeted at 90% and witnessed a 47% increase in the availability of water quality of water in 2019.  For instance, in Burkina Faso, 63.5% in 2013 had access to drinking water and this proportion rose from 74% in 2019.  In Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ethiopia access to drinking water has witnessed an increase from 94%, 58%, and 74% to 98%, 71.1%, and 89.5% respectively between 2013 to 2019. Generally, access to drinking water and sanitation has improved in terms of access to drinkable water within the continent. This is a major indicator of the standard of living and quality of life. Much still needs to be done especially in the rural areas of the region.

Secondly, in terms of access to electricity and connectivity, the continent witnessed an increase from 57.4% in 2013 to 62% in 2019 with countries like Burkina Faso seeing an increase from 16.8% in 2013 to 21.3% in 2018 in the proportion of households with access to electricity. This reveals that the continent recorded a weak performance in increasing access, registering 26% against the 2019 target, with a nominal increase in the proportion of households. Furthermore, many countries are making efforts to reduce electricity tariffs, in a bid to increase the proportion of households with access to electricity. Moreover, assessing the degree of internet connectivity was 21.8% in 2013 and it increase to 41.9% in 2019. For example, in Nigeria, the percentage of the population using the internet rose from 19% to 42% between 2013 and 2019, meanwhile in Egypt, Guinea, and Uganda the fraction of the population using internet services increased from 29.5% to 9%, and 11% in 2013 to 44.3%, 37% and 23% in 2018 respectively.

Finally, job preparedness and unemployment rates 10 years after the implantation of Agenda 2063 varied and have led to a variation in the patterns of decent jobs and unemployment rates. This is more pronounced amongst the female subpopulation and youths. For instance, in Lesotho, the level of unemployment rose from 25.8% in 2014 to 32.8% in 2016. However, some Member States also recorded a drop in economic growth and a drop in employment levels. Like in Senegal the was a drastic decrease from 25.7% in 2013 to 12.5% in 2017.

Challenges Faced in Achieving African Agenda 2063 Goal One

Firstly, one of the major challenges faced by the African Union in the implementation of the first phase of the 2063 agenda is information asymmetry among member countries. Public awareness of the existence of agenda 2063 is bias at the continental level and especially in the rural areas. This shows that information on the content and the importance of the development agenda of Africa should be made a priority and synergy should be highlight for the diffusion of information to the entire continent about the long-term version of the continent.

Another issue that hinders the implementation of the first phase of agenda 2063 is link to the non-existence of an optimal channel in which resources mobilization, harmonized and integrated. The establishment of resource mobilization mechanism will ensure the smooth implementation of Agenda 2063 at the national, regional, and continental levels. The optimal allocation of resource will motivate the support from internal and foreign stakeholders and other development partners. More so, the non-existence of a harmonized and integrated approach is an issue to the successful implementation of the 2063 Agenda of the continent. This can lead countries to develop their own development agendas and register into so many trading blocs that may deviated the long-term vision of the African continent. Also, the development of a harmonized and integrated implantation strategy agenda will reduce the problem duplicity of member countries in difference trade zone and other international organizations.

Furthermore, the insecurity, corruption and embezzlement within the continent is a major challenge for the implementation of the first phase of agenda 2063. Where Africa countries are faced with political instability and the existence of terrorism is a problem that hinder the achievement of the 2063 agenda of the continent. The existence of corruption and embezzlement of public funds in some Africa States makes it difficult for the implementation and achievement of the set targets of the 2063 agenda at national and regional levels. Since resources that are destine for structural transformation are misallocated and this deepens that poverty level of member countries and the entire continent.

In addition, the reluctant nature of some African nations in enacting some flagship programs that were developed in the context of the 2063 agenda is a major issue in the implementation and realization phase of the 2063 agenda of the continents. For instance, the African continental free trade area a major flagship project of the African union was originally ratify by 24 member states in 2019 and due to the reluctant nature of some states, it delays the realization of some of the poverty target of the continents.

Finally, region integration within the continent is very complex with the existence of 8 trading blocs and members countries belonging in more than one trade zone makes it burdensome to some countries in terms of bloc contribution and multiplicity of development mission and visions. Most regions within the African continent have well established laws on regional integration of persons and commodities. The integration of person is more of window dressing then a reality as other Africa citizens are rejected from other countries and are require to provide many documents.

Way Forward

To reduce poverty and misery in Africa, the Africa union established the African Agenda 2063 focusing on the structural transformation of Africa and further increase per capita within the continent. From this premises the following are recommended: a reduction in information bias on difference flagship programs of the African union that promote the 2063 Agenda of the continent to dampen poverty in Africa; a local resource mobilization strategy should be developed to finance agenda 2063 and not depend on foreign resources; Harmonized and integrated approach should be put in place for the better implementation of agenda 2063.

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Bin Joachem Meh is a Free Enterprise Associate in the Department of Economics Affair at the Nkafu Policy Institute. He is a Ph.D. Fellow in Labour and Development Economics in the University of Bamenda.

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