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Skills development crucial for Agenda 2063’s success

25 Jan, 2016

The Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) said that Africa may have difficulty implementing the first ten-year plan of Agenda 2063 if urgent action is not taken to change mindsets and build critical technical skills in the continent. He was addressing African Ministers of Foreign Affairs at the Ministerial Retreat held on 24-26 January 2016 in Mekelle, Ethiopia.  The ES was presenting the main conclusions of a study conducted by ACBF at the request of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to assess capacity imperatives for AU Agenda 2063.

The Executive Secretary stressed amongst key findings of the study issues of mindsets and critical skills.  According to him, the current situation of inadequate Critical Technical Skills for implementing the programs of the first ten-year plan of Agenda 2063 is alarming. For instance, Africa might have a current projected gap of 4,309,065  Engineers, and a projected number of 4,865,270 Engineers to aim for by 2023. In terms of Agricultural scientists and researchers, Africa might have a current projected gap of 1,611,042, and a projected number of 1,886,820 to aim for by 2023. In terms of Medical Doctors and specialists, Africa might have a current estimated gap of 8,167,171 and a projected number of 9,103,899 to aim for by 2023.

Moreover, the Executive Secretary highlighted some of the recommendations emerging from the study:

  • Putting in place initiatives to tap into the huge skills and capacity of the African Diaspora;
  • Establishing tripartite dialogue among the Academia, Private Sector and Governments to establish an educational agenda for Agenda 2063 and articulate educational priorities and employment creation;
  • Promoting training in new areas of specialization that are important for “Africa’s solutions to Africa’s problems”
  • Urgently scaling up investments in training and education for technical and critical sector skills including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education as well as in vocational education and training.

He added that the implementation of the recommendations will require a division of roles and responsibilities among AUC, NEPAD, the Pan-African Parliament, Regional Economic Communities and countries.  The Executive Secretary concluded his presentation by calling for a strong political and financial support from African governments to ACBF which will enable the Foundation to support the AUC and countries in capacity development areas pertaining to the implementation of Agenda 2063.

In his presentation, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, identified ten key issues from the findings of the ACBF studies each of which he illustrated using examples based on policies and success stories of Ethiopia.   In particular and in light of Ethiopia’s experiences, the Minister pointed out that in order to expect a real transformation and effective implementation of Agenda 2063, countries should focus on developing leadership, changing mindsets, building relevant human and institutional capacity, designing the right policies, prioritizing education and promoting Technical Vocation Education and Training (TVET) and investing heavily in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The Ministerial Retreat was organized by the African Union Commission (AUC) in preparation for the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of States of African Union scheduled respectively for 27-28 January 2016 and 30-31 January 2016 in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).



Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana