The primary aim of ONE’s DATA report is to evaluate the commitments of the G8. However, over the past decade, African countries have also made a series of critical commitments to their people. ONE relies on African partners, such as the Africa Progress Panel (APP), the African Monitor, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA), to monitor Africa’s commitments and assess progress. As the APP notes in its latest report, Africa must once and for all demonstrate that it has the political will to make progress. Some critical African commitments include the following:
African countries have made important commitments to agriculture and food security, including the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Plan (CAADP), which calls for 6% growth rates in the agriculture sector by 2015. In the African Union Maputo Declaration of 2003, African countries also committed to direct 10% of their budgets to agriculture. As of April 2010, 16 countries had signed a CAADP compact and were moving towards implementation, and eight (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Niger and Senegal) were exceeding the budget target. Ten countries met the 6% growth target in 2008.
TRADE AND DIVERSIFICATION
In the 2001 New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Declaration, African countries committed to improve their competitive environment by reducing trade barriers and deepening regional integration. Subsequent African Union statements on trade have linked to promoting regional integration and inter-regional agricultural trade, including the African Accountability 2004 Sirte Declaration on the Challenges of Implementing Integrated and Sustainable Development on Agriculture and Water in Africa and the 2006 Abuja Africa Fertilizer Summit. There has been some progress in improving trade policy across the continent with some reduction in tariffs, but the progress in integration has been limited. African countries trade, on average, less than 10% of their goods with each other, compared with 65% of goods traded between European countries. Many African countries have multiple regional memberships and this is considered to be one of the reasons for such low levels of intra-African trade. Of the 53 countries in Africa, 27 are members of two regional groupings, and 18 belonging to three.
In 2000, African countries signed up to the Education For All (EFA) programme of action and committed to developing costed plans to achieve EFA supported by the Fast Track Initiative (FTI). By the end of October 2008, 23 African countries had their national education plans endorsed by FTI and 17 countries had developed long-term costed plans, which indentified the available domestic resources as well as the external funding needed in order to reach Education For All. African countries have also scaled up resource allocations to the education sector, with average total expenditure rising from 3.7% of GDP in 1999 to 4.4% in 2006. In 2006, more than half of the countries where data were available spent more than 17% of government expenditure on education.
In 2001, African heads of state committed to take all the measures necessary to ensure a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to the improvement of the health sector. In 2003, this commitment was reaffirmed at the Maputo Meeting of Heads of State. A 2010 study shows that there are currently six African countries meeting the 15% pledge: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Niger Rwanda and Zambia. Twenty-two countries have allocated at least 10% of their annual budget toward the health sector. Of the remaining 30 countries that are allocating less than 10% of their budget to health, eight fall below 5%.
African countries have committed to increasing their investments in infrastructure, as identified in the 2001 NEPAD declaration. Countries are improving their coordination and institutions such as the African Development Bank (AfDB) are increasing support for cross-border projects such as highways that link countries and improve important transport linkages.
PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
African countries committed to private sector development in the NEPAD declaration and recommitted in the 2004 Maputo Declaration to improve conditions for achieving this. According to the World Bank, Rwanda leads the world in private sector development reforms. The ten top reformers in 2008–09 also included Egypt and Liberia. Mauritius (global rank 10) held first position in sub-Saharan Africa for ease of doing business. These rankings reflect determined efforts by Africa to improve the investment climate and the business environment.
ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
In the 2003 NEPAD Environmental Action Plan, African countries agreed to a comprehensive plan for environmental sustainability, and in 2007 the AU committed to integrate climate change adaptation strategies into national development plans. Twenty-two countries have completed National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs).
The 2003 Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, which embodies a range of economic rights for women, was committed to by African countries but, as of 2008, only 50% of countries had ratified it. While more progress is being made in the area of equitable access to health, less is being achieved in the political arena – with the exception of Rwanda, whose parliament is the first to have more than 50% female membership, including the speaker.
African countries have established a range of accountability mechanisms and institutions, including the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). Thirty countries have voluntarily acceded to the APRM process, while 12 have completed the peer review process. In the area of economic governance, 44 countries have signed and 31 countries have ratified the 2003 African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and 19 African countries are now candidates for the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI). Twelve countries have produced an EITI report, which is the first step in improving transparency in payments from the extractive sector. Liberia is one of the first two countries to have completed an independent EITI Validation, the EITI's quality assurance mechanism.
PEACE AND SECURITY
In 2002, the African Peace and Security Architecture was established, comprising a number of continent-wide mechanisms for promoting peace. Five regions have committed to set up regional brigades (the African Standby Force) and a Peace Fund has been set up to support operational activities.
DOMESTIC PUBLIC RESOURCES FOR DEVELOPMENT
In 2001, NEPAD identified domestic savings and strengthened public revenue collection as primary resources to be supplemented by other sources of development finance. Many countries are beginning to improve the efficiency of their revenue mobilisation by broadening their tax bases. Thirty-four countries have adopted value-added taxes and 14 have established autonomous revenue authorities. With the establishment of the Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) initiative, it is hoped that more countries will be able to successfully recover illegally acquired assets like Nigeria has done.
In 2005, African countries promised to improve aid effectiveness in the context of the Paris Declaration by strengthening the linkages between national development strategies and annual or multi-annual budgets. In 2008, these commitments were reaffirmed in the Accra Agenda for Action, which calls for stronger involvement of parliamentarians, civil society organisations and citizens in shaping national development policies. Twenty countries have completed substantially stronger and more operational second-generation Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), and a few have completed fully costed MDG needs assessments.
All of the above initiatives would be improved through further strengthening and support for African civil society monitoring organisations, further investments in African statistical capacity and the public and timely provision of these statistics. It is noteworthy that the core MDG 1 – of reducing poverty – cannot be adequately measured given the current statistical capacity in Africa. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation had to exclude statistics on poverty from its recent Index of Governance, because the quality of the data was too poor.