African Reporters Discuss AU’s Agenda 2063
Sixty journalists from Africa have engaged in a two-day dialogue on Agenda 2063 at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The African Union Agenda 2063 is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years.
It builds on and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.
The dialogue was organised by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA), African Media Initiative, Directorate of Information and Communication of the African Union Commission and UNESCO/ Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
It was on the theme: “The role of the media in Africa’s Development, Women’s Empowerment and its support for Agenda 2063.”
The journalists were involved in the dialogue because the document acknowledged communication and advocacy and, therefore, media as a critical enabler for the realisation of the agenda.
Therefore it was meant to increase the understanding and support by the media for the agenda’s priorities by engaging them as development partners and encouraging them to provide greater publicity to activities implemented in the region.
The Agenda 2063 framework document was adopted by the 24th session of the AU Assembly of Heads of States and Government including the regional economic communities and other continental bodies in Addis Ababa on January 2015 following extensive consultations involving all formations of African society.
The document has three main dimensions. One is the vision for 2063 which is based on the African Union vision and seven aspirations emanating from voices of stakeholders consulted.
The second is the transformation framework which presents the foundations on which Agenda 2063 is built, as well as the detailed milestones in the journey in the form of goals, priority areas, targets and indicative strategies while the third outlines “how to get there”.
The aspirations are seven. They are:
- A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
- An integrated continent politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
- An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.
- A peaceful and secure Africa.
- An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics.
- An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
- Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Public Information and Knowledge Management of the ECA, Dr Jimmy Ocitti, called on the journalists to take social responsibility more seriously, especially with regard to Agenda 2063, and act as key partners in its realisation.
The Director of Information and Communication of the AUC, Ms Leslie Richer, said Africa no longer imagined what it could be, but had a clearly spelt out development goal that has prioritised projects, adding that: “We can no longer be bystanders”.
She said women and girls needed to have access to information to change their lives and that there were more positive roles that women could play.
“Stop portraying them in derogatory ways and only as vulnerable and helpless,” she advised.
She asked the journalists to “be arbiters for the change we want for our continent”.
The Chief of the Coordination, Advocacy and Programme Development Branch in the UN office of the OSAA, Dr Raul de Melo Cabral, observed that there was inadequate reportage on the progressive and positive things taking place in Africa.
“The days of good news as no news is over,” he said and called on journalists to change the gloomy narrative on Africa into a more positive one.
The President of the Federation of African Journalists, Mr Abdulwaheed Odushie, said the state of the media in Africa was pathetic, especially in relation to funding.
He explained that that was one of the reasons why “they are not able to tell their own stories”.
He said a major war facing Africa was the fight against corruption and that most governments were not accountable.
He found it unacceptable that most African journalists depended on subvention, making them unable to assert their independence.
He called for a change in the situation so that the youth would be attracted to the profession.