As this week’s 30th African Union summit drew to a close in Addis Ababa, the region’s leaders appeared to have made tentative progress on a promising pathway out of poverty.
The week-long summit focussed on fast-tracking the AU’s Vision 2063, which seeks to transform the continent’s social and economic climate. The Vision is based on seven aspirations which correspond closely with key features of the Legatum Prosperity Index, including commitments to inclusive and sustainable prosperity, good governance and the rule of law, strong social capital and a secure and peaceful environment.
The fifty-year time frame of Vision 2063 promises to be definite for Africa’s people, communities and nations. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the weakest-performing region in the world in our most recent Index, with all but four nations languishing in the bottom half and occupying eight of the bottom ten ranks. However, in spite of this, the continent is showing encouraging signs of progress: the Index indicates that Africa’s overall prosperity has grown considerably in the past year, with more than half of nations improving on their 2016 ranking.
Perhaps most encouraging, Sub-Saharan Africa’s business environment was the second most improved in the world last year. These improvements promise to be augmented by the agreement struck in Addis Ababa to launch a Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which promises to deliver a major step forward in the continent’s transport infrastructure, by making it possible for airlines to operate across national boundaries and hub in foreign cities.
Whilst the challenges confronting African prosperity are numerous, Vision 2063 represents the first, pan-African reform initiative. It is a laudable first step towards the AU’s vision of ‘an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa’.
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The Legatum Institute