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Last updated: 26 Oct, 2015  

Africa.9.Thmb.jpg India to align itself with Africa's Agenda 2063

Africa.9.jpg
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SME Times News Bureau | 26 Oct, 2015
Ahead of the third India-Africa Forum Summit that gets underway in New Delhi on Monday, India said it is trying to align its ties with Agenda 2063 that the continent of 54 nations and 1.1 billion people has adopted.

"If you look at the areas that we are now thinking of, we have to go back to what the African nations want. And that way this summit is of particular importance because this is the first major partnership summit that Africa is having after they have adopted Agenda 2063," Navtej Sarna, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said at a pre-summit media briefing.

"This is the vision document which Africa has adopted for itself to see where they would like Africa to be 50 years on. This is a document which thinks about and puts down their ideas about sustainable developments, about good governance, about rule of law, democracy, the place of women, renewable energies, sustainable fisheries and so on," he explained.

"Essentially it is a very forward-looking document and we have made a special effort that in preparing for this summit we should be aligning our priorities and our activities as much as possible with Agenda 2063 as we can."

He also said that this is the first summit taking place "after the UN adopted its Development Agenda 2030 a month ago, and which also has certain objectives and sustainable development goals and the accompanying narrative which is broadly in alignment with our own development priorities".

So, what is Agenda 2063?

Agenda 2063, as described on its website, is "both a Vision and an Action Plan".
"It is a call for action to all segments of African society to work together to build a prosperous and united Africa based on shared values and a common destiny".

Following various debates and consultations held with youth, women and diaspora representatives during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU)/African Union(AU) in Addis Ababa in May 2013, the African Union Commission adopted Agenda 2063.

The leaders laid down the vision and eight ideals to serve as the pillars for the continent in the foreseeable future, which Agenda 2063 will translate into concrete objectives, milestones, goals, targets and actions/measures.

"Agenda 2063 strives to enable Africa remain focused and committed to the ideals envisaged in the context of a rapidly changing world," the website posting reads

The question arises: Why a 50-year agenda?

"The choice of a 50-year timeframe must be understood within the context of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the OAU; and the need for the continent to take stock of achievements, successes/failures and map out a long-term vision as well as set goals and targets," the website states.

"In operational terms, the Agenda 2063 would be a rolling plan of 25 years, 10 years, 5 years and short term action plans," it adds.

The following factors have been taken into consideration before the adoption of Agenda 2063:

The changing global context: Globalization and the information technology revolution have provided unprecedented opportunities for countries and regions with the right policies to make significant advances and lift huge sections of populations out of poverty, improve incomes and catalyze economic and social transformations.

A more united and strong Africa. Africa today is more united, a global power to reckon with, capable of rallying support around a common agenda and speaking with one voice with demonstrated strong capacity to negotiate and withstand the influence of forces that would like to see it divided.

Strong and well-functioning regional institutions: Africa's sub-regional institutions have been rationalised and the eight officially AU recognized regional economic communities are today strong development and political institutions that citizens can count on and Agenda 2063 can stand on.

New development and investment opportunities: Africa today is faced with a confluence of factors that present a great opportunity for consolidation and rapid progress. These include: unprecedented positive and sustained growth trajectory of many African countries resulting from sound macro-economic policies and strategies bolstered by high commodity prices.

Significant reduction of armed conflicts, improved peace and stability, coupled with advances in democratic governance.

A fast rising broad-based African entrepreneurial and middle class, coupled with the youth bulge, which can act as catalyst for further growth and technological progress. Changes in the international finance architecture, the rise of the BRICS and improved flows of FDI to Africa beyond commodity producing sectors.

The Africa you did not know

As the 3rd India Africa Forum Summit begins with preparatory meetings on Monday, IANS presents some key facts and figures about a continent that is not only one of the fastest growing regions of the world but one that is economically, culturally and linguistically diverse and is keen to engage more with India:

- Africa is 10 times the size of India

- Africa comprises 54 independent nations, the newest being South Sudan, which was carved out of Sudan

- Africa's population is 1.1 billion (almost the same as India's)

- Africa has a coastline of 26,000 km

- Africa has a relatively young population, with 65 percent below the age of 35. In many African states, more than half of the population is under the age of 25.

- Indian diaspora in Africa is about 2.7 million.

- The primary region of Africa is often called sub-Saharan Africa and excludes the mostly Islamic countries of North Africa like Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania. Sub-Saharan Africa includes 42 nations on mainland Africa and six island nations.

- Arabic (in various dialects) is the most common language spoken in Africa with about 170 million speakers, primarily residing in North Africa. In the continent as a whole, there are over 2,000 recognised languages.

- At 171 million, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa. Egypt comes second with over 85 million people.

- The largest country in Africa is Algeria with 967,490 square miles (2.5 million sq km). The smallest country is the island nation of Seychelles (175 sq miles or 453 sq km).

- There are at least 3,000 distinct ethnic groups (tribes) in Africa. Nigeria alone has more than 370 recognised tribes within its population.

- In 2013, the African Development Bank estimated that Africa's middle class reached more than 300 million in 2008, amounting to a third of the continent's population, or about the same size as its Chinese and Indian counterparts. Africa's middle class is expected to grow to 1.1 billion (42 percent of the population) in 2060 (AfDB, 2011).

- Africa's top 18 cities have a total spending power of $1.3 trillion.

- Consumer spending by the middle class reached an estimated quarter of Africa's GDP of $3,359 billion in 2012. By 2030, this figure will likely reach $2.2 trillion, although Africa will still only account for about three percent of worldwide consumption, according to a paper by the European Centre for Development and Policy Management.

- Currently, there are two competing narratives on Africa. One is a story of modernization, growth and global integration. It is the story of street traders with smartphones; new cities and skylines; factories supplying the likes of Cadburys, Unilever and Walmart; and multinational Western companies - from Google to General Electric. The second story is one of poor governance, conflict, poverty, marginalisation and underdevelopment.

- There is still a huge divide between the rich (five percent in 2008) and poor (62 percent) in Africa. The middle class (33 percent) is not big enough. About 100,000 of the wealthiest Africans have a collective net worth amounting to 60 percent of the continent´s GDP, according to the AfDB, citing 2008 figures.

- Nigeria will leapfrog Egypt into second place behind South Africa, with Kenya in fourth place, in the New World Wealth's projected 2030 rankings of African countries by dollar millionaires. Millionaires in Ghana will triple by 2030 with an advance of 144 percent in Angola. The number of high-net-worth individuals in Ethiopia, which grew the fastest over the past six years, will almost triple to 7,900 by 2030 amid a privatisation programme, according to the European Centre for Development and Policy Management.
 
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