The Africa they want

Agenda 2063 cover

By Jordan Teague

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions last month? New decade, new you? You might call the Sustainable Development Goals the world’s New Year’s Resolutions for this new decade. Some regions even entire continents, have set their own goals.

The African Union, whose members are 55 countries on the continent of Africa, outlines Agenda2063 – the plan to achieve its vision of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena.”

Their key aspirations for the continent by the year 2063 are on page 2:

As I read and reflect on these aspirations for the continent, I can’t help but be excited for these visions to come to fruition. This is how it should be, a world where Africa and her people are the drivers, the decision-makers, the leaders in setting the directions of their countries. A world where local people determine the development priorities, resources, and ways of implementing programs. A world where foreign investments in African countries align more with her people’s vision and goals for themselves than with others’ self-interest.

African countries are certainly working toward the SDGs while also striving to achieve their own aspirations. And achieving the SDGs will require achieving equity, meaning all people can realize equal outcomes.

Eliminating inequities is an economic, social, and moral imperative to end global hunger, poverty, and malnutrition and to make it so that Africans can achieve Agenda2063. We also know that current inequities are an ongoing result of history: many can be traced back to colonialism and imperialism — influencing policies, economic systems, and cultures even today.

So while we strive towards the SDGs this decade, let us not lose sight of what Africa’s people have envisioned for themselves. Achieving the SDGs and supporting Africa to achieve Agenda2063 will require actively countering the weight of history’s influence on today’s global systems. It starts with recognition but requires so much more. I look forward to the day when Africa looks like the Africa Africans want.

Jordan Teague is senior international policy advisor with Bread for the World Institute.

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