8 July 2004
African delegates attending the African Union’s recent executive summit of foreign affairs in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia praised AU Commission chairperson Alpha Konare for delivering a comprehensive, realistic roadmap for achieving economic growth and development on the continent.
Konare presented a far-reaching, multifaceted plan aimed at revolutionising Africa’s growth and links with the globe – particularly with Africans in the Diaspora.
The plan also covers civil society in the region and its ties with the international community in tackling poverty, disease, unemployment and illiteracy in Africa.
The plan was submitted to the African heads of state summit in Addis Ababa this week.
The three-volume plan covers the AU’s vision and mission, a plan for the AU Commission for 2004-2007, and a plan of action to speed up integration, and includes a guideline document entitled “Africa, our common destiny”.
- Strategic Framework of the AU Commission
- Plan of Action
While the guidelines, mission and vision outlines Africa’s evolution and the political context within which the AU operates, the strategic framework identifies the challenges in implementing programmes such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).
The time-bound action plan highlights “priority programmes” covering practical ways of bridging the digital bridge, pushing for equitable world trade, food security and self sufficiency, generating investment on the continent, and linking Africa with the Diaspora.
It also includes workable proposals for encouraging education, deepening peace efforts, distributing clean water and fighting disease on the continent.
Questioning Africa’s poverty
The report questions why Africa continues to be marginalised and poor while possessing massive human and natural resources.
The continent, it says, accounts for 30% of the total mineral reserves on earth, including 40% of world’s gold and 60% of cobalt, making Africa what it terms “a strategic producer”.
Africa is also a leading coffee and cocoa producer, awash with diamonds and oil in numerous countries – yet it remains a “complex continent beset with difficulties”, accounting for just one percent of the world’s GDP and barely two percent of global trade.
Besides Africa’s population living on less than a dollar per day on average, the continent’s people remain highly restricted to their countries with little freedom movement, hamper knowledge sharing among different communities.
‘An Africa reconciled with itself’
On African leadership, the plan’s agenda is that of pan-Africanism, which the plan says should be built on regional integration, good governance and democratic principles.
The vision is that of an Africa “integrated, prosperous and peaceful, an Africa driven by its own citizens, a dynamic force in the global arena … an Africa reconciled with itself and with its Diaspora, an Africa using its own resources to play a major role that it can legitimately claim in a polycentric and more equitable world in which there will be no economic, political and ideological hegemonies which characterised the previous century”.