Keynote Address by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, at the Civil Society National Consultative Forum on the African Union Agenda 2063, DIRCO, Pretoria, Thursday, 09 October 2014

Programme Director,
Leaders of Civil Society Organisations present,
Men and women of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation on this important occasion of national consultation with the Civil Society on African Union Agenda 2063. 

What is Agenda 2063? The African Union is currently engaged in an exercise to define where Africa should be in the next 50 years, in the year 2063. The decision to undertake this project was taken last year in 2013 during the celebration on the 50th anniversary of the African Union.

During those celebrations, Africans took stock of the 50 years since independence in the 1960s and our achievements, and went further to decide that Africa should not be found wanting in the next 50years. That is, Africa must be more prepared in the next 50 years, and that the best way to be well prepared, is by anticipating and planning well ahead.

This is what Agenda 2063 is all about. It is about Africans thinking together about where Africa should be in the next 50 years; that the Africa of the year 2063 must be a united and better place, fully developed, democratic, and without wars.

To that end, the African Union is engaged in continent-wide consultations with different sectors, to solicit the input of all of us into Agenda 2063. Each Member Country of the African Union has also been conducting its own national consultations, hence we are here today. We have been talking to the youth, women, academia and our Parliament will soon be holding a Joint Sitting on this subject. These are just some of the consultations that are happening.

Programme Director,

The purpose of today’s gathering is:

  • To get Civil Society’s insight of the Africa they want in 2063;
  • Inspire Civil Society into participating fully and providing support leading to the development of African Union Agenda 2063;
  • Gather inputs for the finalization of the Agenda 2063 Draft Framework Paper for consideration by Cabinet;
  • Validate the critical issues that will influence the continent’s transformation; and
  • Determine how Africa should resource its transformation and continental institutions.

Our gathering here, therefore, is for us to engage and discuss together about the future we want. In other words, we have to express ourselves on the type of Africa we want by 2063 in terms of political and socio-economic development; human welfare, governance, peace and security, Africa’s place in the world, and your role and place in it.

Indeed, the African Civil Society is best positioned to reflect upon Africa’s past, draw appropriate lessons, as well as examine the present and the future in order to propose measures to address past challenges and forge ahead a development path that our people yearn for. In this regard, we need to provide concrete recommendations on what policies and strategies should be implemented to ensure a better, technologically advanced and highly competitive Africa in 2063 with meaningful and productive engagement with its relevant stakeholders.

Upon completion of the consultations, it is expected that our country’s draft Agenda 2063 Framework will be finalized with inputs from all constituencies consulted – including Civil Society.  The South African Civil Society will understand and begin to own the African Union Agenda 2063 process; and Cabinet will be empowered to coordinate and drive the Agenda 2063 preparation process.

Some amongst the other objectives of the Agenda 2063 preparatory process includes the following processes:

  • Develop a Strategic Framework that ensures prioritization, coherence and focus on achieving the Vision of the African Union;
  • Conduct review exercises in order to establish baseline information and develop targets and milestones to be achieved over a medium to long-term period with a clear implementation plan that facilitates the roll-out of the strategy;
  • Develop an implementation mechanism that is underpinned by a strong knowledge management system that enhances the quality of delivery through cutting-edge research, innovation and codification of ground-breaking experiences, promote sharing of experiences and learning from each other; communities of practices;
  • Develop a monitoring and evaluation system that ensures the achievement of the results on the basis of clear targets, benchmarks, milestones and/ or indicators through regular performance assessments and evaluation reports; and
  • Since January 2013, the African Union Commission, in partnership with NEPAD, and supported by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the Africa Development Bank (ADB), has undertaken a number of activities in support of the development of Agenda 2063. 

Programme Director,

The Summit of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in May 2013, adopted a Solemn Declaration during the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the Organisation of African Unity/African Union. In adopting this Declaration, the Heads of State and Government, while acknowledging past successes and challenges, rededicated themselves to the continent’s accelerated development and technological progress. Accordingly, they pledged their commitment to making progress in the following eight key areas, namely:

  • African Identity and Renaissance: Accelerate the African Renaissance through integrating principles of Pan Africanism in all policies anchored in our belief in common destiny and shared values. 
  • Continue the struggle against colonialism and the right to self-determination of people still under colonial rule.
  • The Integration Agenda: Implement the Continental Free Trade Area to ultimately establish a united and integrated Africa. 
  • Agenda for Social and Economic Development:  Develop Africa’s human capital as the continent’s most important resource; eradicate disease especially HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis; take ownership of use and develop natural resources, and make development responsive to the needs of the people.
  • Peace and Security Agenda:  Eradicate recurrent conflicts through addressing the root causes of these conflicts.
  • Democratic Governance:  Anchor African societies, governments and institutions on respect for the rule of law, human rights and dignity, popular participation and democratic governance.
  • Determining Africa’s Destiny: Determine Africa’s Destiny through taking ownership of African issues and providing African solutions to African problems; and
  • Africa’s Place in the World: Continue the global struggle against all forms of racism, discrimination, and expressing solidarity with oppressed countries and peoples.  

These eight areas are a basis from which Agenda 2063 could be developed.  I hope this gathering will provide an opportunity for in-depth reflection and exchange on each of these areas.

Programme Director,

Let us continue convening such engagements to promote and recognise the role of Civil Society in responding to their own challenges.

We must also view this dialogue in response to the African Union Development Agenda 2063 – a key road map for the attainment of social and economic transformation.

Collectively, we must and should enhance leadership participation of Civil Society in public and private institutions both at national, regional and continental levels as one of the major outputs.

As members of Civil Society, it is our responsibility to skill ourselves.

In conclusion, I wish you well in all your engagements today. We count on this forum to produce helpful outcome that all members of the Civil Society in our beloved country would be proud of.

I thank you.


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