On Friday, 28 September 2018, The University of Johannesburg (UJ) hosted an Agenda 2063 workshop at the School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH), Bunting Road Campus, Auckland Park.
Hosted by UJ's Government Relations and Community Engagement divisions under the theme #TheAfricaWeWant, the workshop featured speakers from the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), with strong participation from UJ's student body and unpacked a number of issues affecting Africa's development.
Critical items discussed at the workshop included: Unpacking Agenda 2063; Health in Africa; Infrastructure and Trade in Africa; and Skills & Tourism in Africa.
Lebohang Mokhomatha from UJ's Government Relations, welcomed students and guests by saying: '' We want to give students a well-rounded experience so that when they graduate they can be ambassadors for not only the University but also the continent as a whole. ''
'We are part of an African community, and we are trying as an institution to decolonise knowledge and to input some of the African epistemology in our learnings. What better way to do that, than with the custodians of the African agenda (NEPAD),'' she added.
The aim of the student led Pan African discussion on Agenda 2063 is to encourage effective learning from the lessons of the past, build on current progress and strategically exploit all possible opportunities to ensure positive socio-economic transformation in Africa.
Abiola Shomang from NEPAD unpacked Agenda 2063 for the audience, stating that it is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. Agenda 2063 builds on, and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development.
Some of the past and current initiatives it builds on include: the Lagos Plan of Action, The Abuja Treaty, The Minimum Integration Programme, the Programme for Infrastructural Development in Africa (PIDA), the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), The New partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), Regional Plans and Programmes and National Plans.
NEPAD's Dr Towela Jere spoke on Infrastructure & Trade in Africa, emphasising that Infrastructure Development is a means that allows Africa to achieve the integration that is outlined in the Agenda 2063 Vision.
''The main aim is about connectivity. It is about connecting people and services. It allows us as a continent to be integrated and united and have the means to aid trade amongst ourselves.''
Students were briefed on NEPAD's programmes such as The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which is meant to bridge Africa's infrastructure deficit, and is an initiative of AU, NEPAD and AfDB.
The African Aspirations for 2063
The seven African Aspirations were derived through a consultative process with the African Citizenry. These are:
• A Prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.
• An integrated continent, politically united, 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.
• Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics.
• An Africa whose development is people driven, relying on the potential offered by people, especially its women and youth and caring for children.
• An Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner.