The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) span the period 2000-2015 and its successor, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is also for a 15-year duration in what is coined, Agenda 2030. Although I am not interested in the intricacies of what it constitutes, at least for now, on the surface of it, it appears measurable and realistic for tracking progress, counting gains and identifying gaps to be filled.
As a student of international development with a concern for how well people and nations do, especially those in Africa who without doubt still experience slow growth, I’m concerned as to why the African Union (AU) has an Agenda 2063 which spans 2013 to 2063—a good 50 years. No!
I sincerely think the plan harbours a malaise on these three levels:
- It appears as though our pursuit of collective growth and development comes with no sense of urgency. Although development takes time, if anyone needed accelerated development, it would be Africa more than any region of the world.
- It places no sense of direct responsibility on the current leaders because most of them know and can realize that they would either not be at the helm of affairs along the entire lifespan of the plan to carry it through or even bequeath it to succeeding generations in good form.
- It takes no account of the need to be proactive against shocks and uncertainties in the dynamics of geopolitics, global trade and the likes. The world as we know it today is experiencing a really fast evolution at the social and economic levels; with the COVID-19 pandemic just being one of the classic examples. I doubt the framers of the plan anticipated such a scourge of global significance which is definitely going to affect the future of everything, including international development.
Plans are good, and yes, we need them. But we deserve ones that hold promise, are realistic, can be measured and even, tweaked to reflect present circumstances while anticipating force majeures like the pandemic. It is my fervent hope that voices of reason will arise; leaders of thought will emerge, and people of action will take a stand to work for the accelerated development of the African continent.
This is the voice of the youth of Africa—the true owners of tomorrow for whom the current leadership must leave a good and promising legacy to continue with. Although the plan is considerably ambitious, it appears far-fetched.