The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) convened its Sixth Africa Think Tank Summit 24-26 April 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, under the theme “Tackling Implementation Challenges for Africa’s Sustainable Development”. The Summit was organized in partnership with the Government of Kenya and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA).
The main objective of the 2019 Summit, the sixth in the series, was to provide a better understanding of why policies and programs are not effectively implemented in many African countries, and offer recommendations for enhancing implementation to achieve desirable development outcomes.
According to an ACBF August 2013 study titled, “The Digest of OAU-AU Treaties, Conventions and Agreement 1963 to 2014”, about 42 treaties/agreements were signed by the OAU and its successor the AU between 1963 and 2014, but only 25 had been ratified by 2014. Even then there was little implementation on any of them.
The study also showed that from 2002 to 2018 (the era of the AU), 51 treaties and agreements were signed with 31 of them (60.8%) yet to be ratified for implementation.
In the last two weeks, the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement – which is expected to boost intra-African trade and enhance competitiveness at the industry and enterprise level - has received the mandatory 22 ratifications and is now ready for implementation. But it will not take off if the implementation capacity challenges being faced at national, regional, and continental levels are not addressed.
Equally important, the capacity gaps for implementing the AU Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda are vast, multi-level, and multidimensional. The needs for strengthening the implementation capacities are high, particularly in the areas of planning, financing, monitoring, evaluation and statistics.
The Summit provided a platform for the think tank community and stakeholders (development partners, government officials, private sector and non-state actors in general) to brainstorm on new innovative ideas and strategies for impacting public policy and supporting the implementation of Africa’s development agendas.
To this end, through various keynote speeches, presentations, discussions, interactions and side-events, the Summit was to address the following four objectives:
- Provide insights on why policies and programs are not effectively implemented in many African countries.
- Deliberate on the role of transformative leadership (including the role of state and non-state actors) in tackling policy implementation challenges.
- Offer actionable recommendations to foster a better implementation of policies and programs, including the required human and institutional capacities as well as the environmental setting needed.
- Advocate for a coordinated continent-wide movement and platform (including the definition of a research agenda) for think tanks to be capacitated and support the implementation process of national development plans, SDGs and Agenda 2063.
FANRPAN was represented by Mr Lufingo Mwamakamba, Director for Corporate Affairs.