PAP remains AU’s best hope on Agenda 2063 goals - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

PAP remains AU’s best hope on Agenda 2063 goals

By Dr. Maurice Ezuruike, International Legislative Consultant

One of the primary objectives of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is to facilitate the effective implementation of the policies and objectives of the OAU/AEC and ultimately of the African Union. This objective is also reflected in the functions of PAP consistent with Rule 4 of the PAP Rules of Procedure where it provides that PAP shall facilitate the implementation of the policies, objectives and programmes of the Union and oversee their effective implementation by the various organs of the Union. It is further elaborated in the powers of PAP under Rule 5 where it provides that PAP shall oversee the development and implementation of policies and programmes of the Union.

These objectives remain critically relevant in the African Union governance matrix when you consider that the key policy thrust of the African Union (AU) is to “promote Africa’s growth and economic development by championing citizen inclusion and increased cooperation and integration of African States”. This fundamental objective of the African Union embodies the hope and promises of Africa’s development and is now encapsulated in a major economic blueprint of the AU called the “Agenda 2063”.

The Agenda 2063 is an embodiment of a strategic action plan aimed at actualizing the AU Vision to build “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena”. This economic policy which also focuses extensively on the need for continental integration is however not a novel economic blueprint in Africa. In fact it was designed against the backdrop of prior continental economic frameworks notably the “Lagos Plan of Action” and the “Abuja Treaty”, that regrettably failed to reach its desired outcome.

Both the Lagos Plan of Action and the Abuja Treaty embraced the same principles and goals manifested in this agenda 2063 with particular reference to industrialization, trade and investment and economic and social development.

It is important to understand that one of the reasons underlying the failure of those prior continental economic frameworks is predicated on the failure of national institutions and governments to inculcate and embrace the principles and values of those prior frameworks in their respective National Development Plans. Irrefutably, the lack of thorough and full engagement of Africa’s legislative institutions that had primary responsibility in national budgeting allocations and priorities was a major catalyst to its failures.

Agenda 2063 may meet a similar fate like its predecessor frameworks if it fails to exploit the overarching framework of internal coherence and coordination of continental plans provided through the Pan African Parliament working in collaboration with other parliamentary platform such as national and regional legislative institutions.

We are now at a defining moment in the AU Agenda 2063 as we begin to evaluate the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of the Agenda and to determine if the set goals, priority areas and targets that the continent aims to achieve at national, regional and continental levels have been realized. Regrettably, Agenda 2063 is failing to attain its developmental goals and PAP’s engagement has remained minimally unimpressive.There is need to re-engage the Pan African Parliament to establish mechanisms to sustain political support for Agenda 2063 and accelerate the implementation of key continental frameworks through National Parliaments. Through recent workshops, PAP has engaged in constructive reflection of the underlying foundation of this developmental blueprint and sought input on ways of strengthening its complementarity and coherence with Africa’s respective national and regional economic targets.

Members of the Pan African Parliament by virtue of their membership in National Parliaments of Member States are traditionally positioned to articulate strategically important economic priorities that reflect current socio-economic realities in our respective countries, foster human capital development and highlight methods of creating additional incentives for investment as a catalyst for economic growth and poverty reduction especially as it relates to women and youth.

If properly consulted, capacitated, coordinated and trained to manage Agenda 2063 implementation at the national and regional level, PAP Parliamentarians can develop stronger frameworks for enhancing the impact of Agenda 2063, identify mechanisms to ensure that the development principles envisaged in the development blueprint are people centered, reflect national priorities, and inculcated in their respective National Development Plans.

The Pan African Parliament is the only organ within the AU governance architecture with the capacity to assemble a centralized, consolidated and viable legislative platform to ensure that Agenda 2063 is properly coordinated and aligned with National Frameworks to improve coherence and synergy, enhance progress and maximize its national and continental impacts.

PAP is also uniquely situated to establish a mechanism that will accelerate the effective implementation of the key continental framework that has been adopted to operationalize Agenda 2063 and develop the legislative framework to counter some of the factors that constitute constraints to African Continental Free Trade Agreement such as high tariffs, absence of cross-border financial instruments, complex customs arrangements and limited regional harmonization of policies, regulations, and procedures.

This unique role of PAP is recognized in Decision on the Report of the Commission on the Domestication of the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063 Doc. EX.CL/963(XXIX) EXECUTIVE COUNCIL Twenty-Ninth Ordinary Session 13 - 15 July 2016 Kigali, RWANDA. This decision called upon the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to continue to work with National and Regional Parliaments and ECOSOCC to mobilize its constituency to ensure that Agenda 2063 is integrated as Africa's vision and planning framework through legislative enactment to facilitate institutionalization.

Also in many of AU Summit, decisions have been consistently adopted in support of the active engagement of the PAP in contributing to the implementation of AU policies and programs and more particularly the Executive Council Twenty-Seventh Ordinary Session 7 – 12 June 2015 Johannesburg, South Africa Decision On The Report On The Activities Of The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) Doc.EX.CL/920(XXVII). This decision commends PAP for its activities and those of its various Committees and encourages PAP in its efforts to support the popularization of the AU Agenda 2063 within the Member States, along with the Commission and other stakeholders, as well as, the support to ratification of AU legal Instruments.These decisions are however without a corresponding funding architecture necessary for effective implementation and actualization of the expectation of PAP. In fact, despite this decision and despite the recognition of the relative importance of the role of PAP in the popularization of the AU Agenda 2063 and other AU programmes, PAP’s financial capacity to actualize these goals remains significantly diminished.There are still some institutional forces within AU governance architecture that is fostering a downward trend in the substantiality of funding architecture and resources to PAP.

The lack of adequate resources and the corresponding weak influence in decision making processes in the AU governance architecture have made PAP less effective than it should be in galvanizing the huge political resources that is embodied in Africa’s national parliamentary institutions in the implementation of continental initiatives. The prospects of actualizing the objectives of the AU remains much higher with the active engagement of the PAP and if the PAP funding architecture for programmes and advocacy can be enhanced.A weak Pan African Parliament can only undermine the strength of the continental governance matrix.

Given that the failures of prior continental frameworks such as the “Lagos Plan of Action” and the “Abuja Treaty” have been authoritatively linked to the “absence of a strong continental coordinating mechanism to facilitate implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the programmes at the national levels” and the failure to reflect those values at national budget priorities, the institutional framework of support for the PAP needs to be strengthened with greater funding facilities, synergy and collaboration with AU organs so that it can undertake this mandate with greater efficacy. The full engagement of PAP remain an imperative if the AU Agenda 2063 next ten year implementation plan is to record greater milestones than the past ten years.

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