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Doing Business with Africa: The African Union’s Flagship Projects for 2023 - 2033

On 27 February 2020, the 10th Commission-to-Commission meeting took place in Addis Ababa, where the African Union is based. President Ursula von der Leyen was accompanied by 20 EU Commissioners and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell. It is here where Commissioners of the African Union and the European Union have discussed their future cooperation on key issues such as growth, jobs, green transition, digital, peace, security and governance, and mobility and migration. "One of our main objectives…", as stated by von der Leyen prior to departing, "is to turn the green and digital transformation of our economies into opportunities for our youth."

These discussions are directly translated from the new vision of the European Commission's department for International Cooperation and Development, where the newly assigned Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen is now in charge of International Partnerships. The shift from "Development Cooperation" to "International Partnerships" is a result of the quickly changing developments and challenges in the modern era, but also a confirmation of the fact that we have to work with Africa, and not for Africa. 

The European Commission, with its newly appointed Commissioners and the still to be adopted long-term budget of 120 BEUR for the next period of 2021 – 2027, is not the only international organisation undergoing changes. So is the African Union with its next 10-year period coming up. On top of this, the whole context of the EU-AU Strategy is about to change as the Cotonou Agreement will expire in March 2020. The AU-EU meeting was therefore a crucial step forward in drafting a new EU Africa strategy to be published this month.

The African Union has recently published its first continental report on the implementation of Agenda 2063, its strategic framework for the purpose of guiding the continent's development for a period of 50 years. The Second Ten-Year Implementation Plan will start in 2023, which is why the African Union is currently setting targets for the next period, as well as reviewing its progress on the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan. It does so according to the 15 flagship projects that have been identified as key to accelerating Africa's economic growth and development as well as promoting a common identity by celebrating Africa's history and culture. Performance on specific goals are also assessed per country.

The flagship projects cover sectors such as trade, energy, transport, connectivity, security, innovation, digitalization, education and culture. They identify where further support from the international donor community may be required to accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2063.

The 15 flagship projects that will be key to untap new leads and business are: 

​1. African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCTA)
The AfCTA aims to significantly accelerate growth of intra-Africa trade and use trade more effectively as an engine of growth and sustainable development by doubling intra-Africa trade, and strengthening Africa's common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.
​2. The Grand Inga Hydropower Project
The "Grand Inga Hydropower Project" is a project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that aims to have a total installed capacity of initially over 42,000 MW and is designed to contribute to the electricity supply for DRC and the entire continent. In 2018 it was decided to increase this capacity to 11,000 MW.
​3. Single Africa Air Transport Market (SAATM)
SAATM aims to ensure intra-regional connectivity between the cities of Africa and create a single unified air transport market in Africa as an impetus to the continent's economic integration and growth agenda.
4. Continental High-Speed Train Network
The Africa Integrated High-Speed Railway Network Project is designed to connect African capitals, economic and other industrial hubs as well as major tourism locations with appropriate high-speed rail technology and other complementary electricity/power, and ICT broadband infrastructure and services.
​5. Pan-African E-Network
The main objective of this project is to build capacity by imparting quality education, as well as medical tele-expertise and consultations to AU Member States by some of the best Indian academic and medical institutions. The network, located in Senegal, has been installed in 48 AU Member States.
​6. Cyber Security
This flagship project aims to ensure that Africa incorporates in its development plans the rapid changes brought about by emerging technologies, and to ensure that these technologies are used for the benefit of African individuals, institutions and nation states by ensuring data protection and safety online. The Cyber Security project is guided by the AU Convention on Cyber Security and Personal Data Protection.
​7. Pan African Virtual and E-University (PAVEU)
The PAVEU aims to use information communications technology (ICT) based programmes to increase access to tertiary and continuing education in Africa so as to accelerate development of human capital, science and technology, and innovation.
​8. African Outer Space Programme
The aim of the African Outer Space Programme is to strengthen Africa's use of outer space technology to bolster its development in key fields such as agriculture, disaster management, remote sensing, climate forecast, banking and finance, as well as defence and security. A meeting between space agencies was expected to be held in 2019. The Arab Republic of Egypt will host the continental African Space Agency.
​9. Great Museum of Africa (GMA)
The aim of the GMA is to create awareness about Africa's vast, dynamic and diverse cultural artefacts and the influence Africa has had, and continues to have, on the various cultures of the world in areas such as art, music, language and science. The Museum will be hosted by the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria in Algiers, on behalf of the continent.
​10. Silencing of the Guns and End Wars in Africa by the Year 2020
This goal aims to end all wars, civil conflicts, gender-based violence, violent conflicts and preventing genocide. It quickly became the theme of the year 2020.
​11. Free Movement of all Persons and African Passport
This project aims to fast track continental integration by removing restrictions on Africans' ability to travel, work and live within their own continent.
​12. The Continental Financial Institutions
The goal is to accelerate integration and socio-economic development of the continent through the establishment of organisations that will play a pivotal role in the mobilisation of resources and management of the African financial sector.
​13. African Economic Platform
This platform offers a multi-stakeholder meeting that brings together the African political leadership, the private sector, academia and civil society to reflect on how to accelerate Africa's economic transformation by harnessing its vast resources to enhance the development of the African people.
14. African Commodities Strategy
This strategy aims to enable African countries to add value, extract higher rents from their commodities, integrate into the global value chains, and promote vertical and horizontal diversification anchored in value addition and local content development. A draft strategy was developed in 2016, which focuses on energy, agriculture and crosscutting strategies dealing with mining and industrialisation.
​15. Encyclopaedia Africana Project (EAP)
The Encyclopaedia Africana aims to provide an authoritative resource on the authentic history of Africa and African life. It was added to the Agenda 2063 flagship projects by the February 2019 AU Assembly Summit.

If you would like to discover African Union related funding opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact Schuman Associates. 

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