Agenda 2063: A Dream Deferred or Destiny Inevitable?

U.S President Joe Biden and leaders pose for a family photo during the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C., U.S. December 15, 2022. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno

Share this article

Let us all unite and celebrate together
The victories won for our liberation
Let us dedicate ourselves to rising together
To defend our liberty and unity

O Sons and Daughters of Africa
Flesh of the Sun and Flesh of the Sky
Let us make Africa the Tree of Life

The first verse and the corresponding chorus of the African Union anthem, first written as a poem titled ‘Proud to be African’ by Ethiopian poet Tsegaye Gabre – Medhin, depict what was supposed to be of Africa as a continent, United.

Sadly, since it was adopted as an anthem by the former Organization of African Unity in 1986 and by the newly formed African Union (AU) in 2002, Africa is still fragmented into 55 nations competing and, at times, fighting each other. Mother Africa is not a tree of life we fantasize about in our daily routines. She is not even a tree; what we see of our beloved land is a collection of shrubs that cannot offer shade.

The key questions lingering in the mind of sons and daughters of Africa are whether Africa? What can we do to rid Africa of historical and economic bondage? If Malcolm X’s words that the future belongs to those who create it today is something to go by, then Mwalimu Nyerere’s strong message that without unity, Africa has no lot might be the perfect but a bitter pill to swallow prophecy for Mama Africa.

In the early days of the African country’s independence, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah wanted to establish a union government for independent Africa on the third OAU Accra summit of 1965. This followed the strong speech two years earlier in Addis Ababa on the first African summit that established the Organization of African Union (OAU). Being a grand champion of African unity, Nkrumah knew that unity was the only way for African emancipation.

He told the Addis Ababa summit, “We have already reached the stage where we must unite or sink into that condition which has made Latin America the unwilling and distressed prey of imperialism after one-and-a-half centuries of political independence. As a continent, we have emerged into independence in a different age, with imperialism growing stronger, more ruthless and experienced, and more dangerous in its international associations. Our economic advancement demands the end of colonialist and neo-colonialist domination of Africa.”

This was followed by great debate and anxiety among the African elite and leaders, some genuinely supporting the unity but differing in approach. In contrast, others feared losing their positions. Africans haven’t forgotten the primary debate between Nkrumah and Mwalimu Nyerere on whether Africa should proceed from regional unity to continental. Mwalimu argued to start with regional integration, while Nkrumah stood for immediate political unity.

Six decades down the lane, the debate about how African states should unite has not changed much. However, the world’s big powers, China and the West, have not wasted a single minute; they are again turning Africa into a battleground for resources.

The scramble for African resources, through both economic and military means, our forefathers warned us against, is a fact of life that we cannot withstand without unity. The more Africa keeps acting in fragmented states, the more it loses its place in the global economy.

In her 2013 vision of Africa in 50 years through an email from the future written to hypothetical Kwame Nkrumah in 2063, the former AU Commission Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, writes.

“If Africa were one country in 2006, we would have been the 10th largest economy in the world! However, instead of acting as one, with virtually every resource in the world (land, oceans, minerals, energy) and over a billion people, we acted as fifty-five small and fragmented individual countries. The bigger countries that should have been the locomotives of African integration failed to play their role at that time, and that is part of the reason it took us so long. We did not realize our power but instead relied on donors, whom we euphemistically called partners.”

The current generation of leaders and people of Africa who are supposed to pick up the shining torch of African unity doesn’t seem to realize that we are compromising the future of our existence and that of the generation to come. All evidence around us suggests without an agreement, ultimaAfrica will ultimately be pawns in the chase game of immense power. The only attention African unity is honored with is limited in rhetoric enthusiasm.

To realize the more than half-a-century-old dream, African Union member states crafted Agenda – 2063, a blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into a global powerhouse by, among other aspirations, integrating the continent and politically uniting it based on the ideas of Pan – Africanism and the vision of African renaissance.

Agenda 2063 envisages the launch of the Confederation of Africa States (CAS) by 2051. But the realization of this beautiful vision might as well end up in a puff of smoke if debates that have overwhelmed the unification of Africa from the beginning are not put to an end and activate the action button towards unity. The agenda is aimed at galvanizing and uniting all Africans and the Diaspora around the shared vision of a peaceful, integrated, prosperous Africa and coordinates the many national and regional frameworks into a shared continental transformation drive.

Agenda 2063 sounds very optimistic, but much needs to be done to make it a reality. As Mwalimu Nyerere said, “If numbers were horses, Africa today would be riding high! Africa would be the strongest continent in the world.”

Apart from rhetoric enthusiasm, we don’t see tangible actions or any purposeful measures seriously dedicated to uniting Africa or Agenda 2063, instead, we witness brewing conflicts among members, East Africa Community, for instance, the shaken relationship between Rwanda and her neighboring DRC and Burundi, the just-ended tensions between Rwanda and Uganda and the business tensions on Tanzania – Kenya border are not good signs on our course towards Agenda 2063.

These frictions among member states do not forebode well for EAC. It is worrisome. Let’s hope better counsel would prevail, and we would not slip into the same fate that visited previous attempts yet unity.

Again Brexit signaled an unpleasant sign to the efforts of uniting Africa; all over the world, both in the north and the south, including Africa, we are witnessing the rise of narrow nationalisms. Narrow nationalisms, by definition, undermine larger unities; it’s a backlash to neoliberalism which was rampant for the last three decades, undermining the livelihoods of the large masses.

Africa must unite; we are already learning the hard way the cost of disunity; as Mwalimu said on March 6th, 1997, on the occasion of Ghana’s 40th independence anniversary, unity is the only hope for the future of Africa. However, unity will not end our weakness until we unite; we cannot even begin to conclude that weakness.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Leave a comment
scroll to top