Post-2015 development agenda: africa taking a common position
Windhoek – In 2000, the global community under the auspices of the United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were to serve as the global development agenda for the next 15 years.
As the September 2015 deadline fast approaches, Africa has adopted a common approach to prepare for the next development agenda, the Common Africa Position (CAP). CAP was adopted by the 22nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on January 31, 2014.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, launched the CAP post-2015 development agenda on June 3, 2014.
During a media briefing in Windhoek recently, Director-General of Namibia’s National Planning Commission (NPC), Tom Alweendo, explained that the overall objective of CAP is for Africa to assert itself in promoting continent-driven development initiatives, as opposed to externally-driven ones.
Alweendo described the post-2015 development agenda as a unique opportunity for Africa to articulate its common priorities, opportunities and challenges.
He said although remarkable strides have been made in some areas of MDGs, such as net primary school enrolment, gender parity in primary education, representation of women in decision-making positions, immunisation coverage, and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, more still needs to be done, as Africa’s progress remains uneven across goals and targets, within groups and among countries.
“Despite rising enrolment rates in primary schools, the quality of education remains a concern, and learning outcomes in many cases are poor. Progress on the health-related MDGs such as child and maternal mortality, quality of health services, and access to sanitation is insufficient to achieve the targets by 2015 in many countries. Reducing inequity in access to basic social services remains a major challenge for many African countries,” Alweendo said.
He noted that the post-2015 development agenda should be member states-driven, and Africa needs collective effort to come up with a new agenda.
CAP, Alweendo said, “should enhance AU member states’ ownership of development, generate the required political will to address the unfinished business of the MDGs and respond to the emerging issues and gaps in implementation, particularly with regard to data collection and monitoring”.
“I believe what Africa needs is to articulate an aggressive industrialisation drive. Africa needs more modern jobs, value addition, agricultural productivity revolution, better use of natural resources, all of which are pointing in the direction of a re-composition of Africa’s GDP with a greater part for industrialisation,” said the former governor of Namibia’s central bank.
Alweendo said, AU member states have indicated poverty as one of the main obstacles to economic development in Africa. To address this challenge, it was alluded that there is a need for economic transformation, science, technology and innovation, people-centred development, environment sustainability, peace and security and finance and partnerships at pillars to achieve its agenda, he said.
“The member states also identified key enablers and means of implementing those pillars such as good governance, transparency and fighting corruption, an enabling governance structure, human rights for all, prudent macroeconomic policy, private sector development, skill development and monitoring and evaluation,” he said
Apart from that, Africa also recognises that sustainable and equitable development can only be guaranteed when people are means and ends of the economic growth process, he said.
He added that AU made a commitment to remain focussed on pertinent development issues such as eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promotion of gender equality and women empowerment.
He also emphasised that African leaders have been requested to acknowledge that to achieve sustainable development, peace and security must be promoted by taking measures to prevent the outbreak of armed conflicts. For an African transformation and development agenda to be achieved, Alweendo said African leaders should be committed to promote effective, open and participatory governance at national, regional and international levels.
“There is also a need to reverse Africa’s dependence on primary commodities and to create decent jobs and to strengthen resilience to external shocks. For this to happen, Africa needs an accelerated and inclusive economic growth that is underpinned by rapid agricultural productivity, industrialisation, value addition and regional integration,” said the NPC director.