African leaders will gather today, July 8, 2023, in a grand celebration called the ‘Boma of Africa 2023’ to commemorate Africa Integration Day. On this occasion, they are signing a pact to introduce the 4D Initiative, aimed at accelerating the flagship goals of Agenda 2063.
Agenda 2063, the comprehensive development plan for all 55 African countries, was launched eight years ago. The 4D Initiative, on the other hand, focuses on mobilizing major public and private stakeholders to work collaboratively and implement specific elements of the agenda.
The Boma Summit, which brings together key policymakers from various sectors, seeks to expedite Africa’s achievement of Agenda 2063’s goals of single market integration and continent-wide prosperity. This year, the spotlight is on the 4D Initiative at the Boma.
Distinguished speakers at the event include President Azali Assoumani of the Union of the Comoros, who also serves as the chairperson of the African Union; President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa; and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. Notable figures such as President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, and Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organization are also on the agenda.
Experts and strategists from the African Union and AfroChampions, the organizations behind the summit, emphasized the immense significance of launching the 4D Initiative. They believe it will play a vital role in the continent’s post-pandemic recovery.
The newly established 4D Pact aims to secure substantial funding from African and global development finance institutions. This funding will support innovators, start-ups, researchers, SMEs, and university spinoffs in their efforts to make Africa self-sufficient in crucial technologies and commodities, including vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, artificial intelligence systems, and genomic applications.
The overarching strategy behind this visionary initiative is to enhance cross-border and cross-sector collaboration between the public and private sectors in Africa. This approach aims to create smart jobs and address geopolitical challenges related to supply chains, critical minerals, and climate transitions.
Nardos Bekele-Thomas, Chief Executive of AUDA-NEPAD, the African Union’s main development think tank and planning agency, described 4D as a game changer. She emphasized the need for the AU and its affiliate institutions to actively influence innovation funding on the continent, as the private sector alone has been insufficient in meeting basic developmental needs.
The 4D Initiative builds upon the Trillion Dollar Fund (TDF), an initial plan launched by the African Union three years ago to boost continental trade and critical infrastructure under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). However, the focus has now shifted to innovative production as a necessary component for achieving Agenda 2063’s goals.
By integrating private sector efforts and leveraging digital infrastructure instruments like ProPer, Tranzyt, PanaBIOS, Transforma, and the AfCFTA Hub, the 4D Initiative aims to create a unified continental ecosystem. This coordinated approach is believed to be essential in overcoming the infrastructure and institutional gaps that impede private sector innovators from contributing effectively to Africa’s industrialization and self-sufficiency in critical sectors such as health, AI, and agriculture.
The launch of the 4D framework at the Boma 2023 marks a significant milestone in achieving comprehensive continental coordination, according to African Union strategists.