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Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary, African Capacity Building Foundation stresses the need to raise capacity building funds, if the continent is to achieve Agenda 2063 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
That Africa is a well-endowed region of the world, a continent said to have a “golden hand”, is indisputable. But the fact that our continent is not fully taking advantage of its weight and worth in gold, to transform itself and be the development wonder of the world, is a major issue to ponder.
This issue of why Africa is not yet fully taking advantage of its potential to completely achieve its own development, presents a serious challenge.
How quickly African leaders make the right choice on this issue, especially in supporting the comprehensive work done by capacity development organisations and think-tanks, and particularly the work of ACBF (which this January was officially designated as the AU’s Specialised Agency for Capacity Development), will greatly determine the pace of implementation and success of Agenda 2063 and the other development plans.
I speak with conviction that it is time African countries developed a radical change of mindset that leads to the prioritising of funding for capacity development. For, unless we can slay the demon of capacity deficits, it will be difficult to implement Agenda 2063 and the SDGs. I therefore want to reiterate the following four reasons why African states must raise their game in funding capacity for development:
The institutional capacity deficits on the continent affect every level of African life. They affect the AU Commission and its organs and prevent them from effectively coordinating the continental development agenda.
They affect regional economic communities (RECs) and inhibit them from effectively playing their role as building blocks of the continental development architecture and accelerating regional integration.
The deficits also affect national institutions and take away their ability to align national development plans to continental and global agendas. Moreover, they affect Africa’s ability to retain, harmonise and fully utilise the capacity that it may have already sweated to acquire.
The continent has an acute shortage of the critical technical skills necessary for accelerating its industrialisation and socio-economic transformation.
An ACBF study on the capacity needed to achieve the First Ten-Year Plan of Agenda 2063 has shown that the continent lacks over 4.3m engineers and around 9,000 mining specialists/engineers.
It is therefore imperative that Africa invests more in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, but we cannot do so without raising our game with regard to funding capacity development.
We must also pay attention not just to capacity building but also to capacity retention, capacity harmonisation and capacity utilisation. In fact, if African countries can build, retain and fully utilise Africa-specific critical skills they would
go a long way in providing a potent solution to the perilous migration of millions of young people, who constitute an important asset for the transformation of the continent.
Achieving “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa”, as stated in the aspirations of Agenda 2063, must be driven by Africa’s own citizens, representing a dynamic force in the international arena. The continent cannot do this if governments don’t lead the way by equipping their citizens with the right capacities and if educational institutions do not educate Africa’s youths to solve Africa’s problems.
So far, the continental and country development plans have been and remain sound, but countries lack the capacity to implement them. Even the art of assessing crucial funding for development requires specialist skills, and if these skills are absent, it makes it doubly difficult to assess, acquire and fully utilise the needed funds.
In view of the foregoing, African governments, institutions and development partners must continue to support organisations such as ACBF, that coordinate capacity development on the continent.
ACBF has the biggest comparative advantage in coordinating complex and composite capacity development programmes across Africa and has been giving high-impact support to over 45 countries across the continent, handling over $700m of grants with high standards of accountability and transparency.
It has the requisite experience, complex fund management know-how, and a huge network to help countries move forward. Therefore, both non-African and African donor partners as well as the Bretton Woods institutions should take advantage of ACBF’s unique experience and fund its interventions, now more than ever, given that the continent is begging for the crucial leadership, managerial, scientific and technological skills to drive its transformation.
As true development partners, all should work to give worthiness to Africa’s golden hands. Yes, together, we can build an Africa capable of achieving its own development!
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