Two of Namibia’s leading renowned academics and political analysts have cast a shadow of doubt on the feasibility and practicality of the dreams enshrined in the African Union’s Agenda 2063, calling it to a mere pipe dream that could turn into a nightmare like many other envisaged plans in Africa.
Ironically the Agenda 2063 blue print hinges around a possibility of a more economically united and politically cemented Africa amid a time when civil strife and counter insurgencies have been the order of the day, steered by non-concurrence of different forces politically or economically.
Academic Dr. Andrew Niikondo likens Agenda 2063 to a child born too early.
“One thing for sure is that Agenda 2063 is a mere dream, meaning it can come to pass or it may fail altogether but at this stage we cannot say it is anything practical.”
“There are so many things that have to be addressed before we can get to the point of dreaming, the moment the ground is cleared then we can begin to see the possibilities of our vision, we are struggling with our own stability which makes working on Agenda 2063 a problematic step further,” said Niikondo.
Africa is still trudging in a dark tunnel of rampant corruption, poor governance and service delivery which all come in time to restrict any possibilities of a light shining at the end of it.
With corruption having taken root in the leadership DNA of most African states, it seems unlikely that anything significant will be done to improve the state of road networks which are riddled with potholes and which may easily be identified as Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB) to the prospect of the smooth movement of goods across the continent.
“Africa has the urgent mandate to root out corruption first, and deal with the conflicts bedeviling the continent. We still have a long way to go in addressing and improving on our own governance and once that is done then it becomes practical to see the realisation of what Agenda 2063 envisions,” Niikondo opined further.
To add salt on the lacerated wound, although Namibia has shown a commitment to the rehabilitation of ports, elsewhere on the continent, seaports are crumbling and rail connection is paltry; factors that all add emphasis to the theoretic nature of unimpeded movement of goods through African states.
Security is another aspect that requires significant attention if the realization of the plan is ever to be attained. The presence of terror organizations such as Bokko Haram and Al-Shabab seem to suggest pessimism on the side of seamless execution of vision 2063, albeit a very early stage.
While the vision promises more of a spiritual haven than a practical earth, it offers nothing new about the concept of continental integration through the dismantling of barriers.
“The political unity of Africa will be the culmination of the integration process, including the free movement of people, the establishment of continental institutions, and full economic integration. By 2030, there shall be consensus on the form of the continental government and institutions,” International relations adviser to South African president Jacob Zuma, Lindiwe Zulu, was also quoted openly lambasting the possibilities of a successfully united Africa in suggested timeline.
“It is very desirable in the long term but I don’t see it any time soon. There is a lot more to be done. We are still agonizing over sovereignty. There are too many things that divide us on political, social and economic levels. We need to have a common agenda and approach to human rights and development. We need to deal with democracy on the continent and leaders who think beyond themselves.”
Among a cocktail of visions, the crafters of the Vision 2063 further prophecy an African share of global trade rising from 2% to 12% which would in turn spur the growth of Pan-African companies of global reach in all sectors as well as necessitating the ease of travel between African countries using one African passport.
Reading between the lines of such ambitions, the economic inequalities among African states automatically translate into a massive migration of peoples from the poorest of economies into countries of greener pastures.
While the first world is grappling with a humongous influx of Syrian and Ethiopian migrants, how the third world will handle such a chaotic possibility is anybody’s guess.
The absurdity of it is how the continental leadership imposes a notion of unity from the top while nothing is being done economically from the bottom.
An apparent need to unite and strengthen the continent’s economies within the respective trading blocs before overhauling the continent’s political and geographical structure may serve as respite for this hurdle.
“The first part of the agenda which talks of creating a future by learning from the mistakes of the past is the only practical thing worthy of applause. However, the vision itself is mere new wine in old wine-bottles. There is no optimism because even today we do not have the political will to rally behind each other.”
“Many times we have failed to tackle our own problems without outside forces having to tell us what to do. For instance, the ouster of Gadhafi was evident of our failure to solve our own continental problems,” said local political analyst Riruako.
Agenda 2063 places emphasis on a united Africa harboring world class, integrative infrastructure that crisscrosses the continent with seamless borders and management of cross boarder resources through dialogue.
With regards to these realities facing those who still dream for the sake of dreaming it is likely that they face the unfortunate situation of having hurriedly swallowed this notion before giving it a good chewing.