African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) said though it exerted great capacity building efforts over the last 25 years, there are still challenges facing African countries in achieving Agenda 2063.
ACBF Executive Secretary Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie told Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) that critical skills needed for Africa's transformation and industrialization are awfully lacking especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. "We have a shortage of 4.3 million engineers."
Capacity retention and utilization are two areas that require due attention to prevent brain-drain, he said, adding critical institutions necessary for transformation are almost non-existent or have weak capacity. "Strengthening these institutions is very important for achieving the objectives of agenda 2063."
Agenda 2063 is the vision for Africa, a continent comprising middle and higher income countries, poverty is significantly reduced, infrastructure is well developed, socio-development in term of education and health outcomes are comparable to the situation in developed countries, and where gender equality, peace and security are ensured.
Regarding sustaining growth, Prof. Nnadozie said the first thing is making sure that countries are not dependent on primary commodities export. "The commodities are extremely prone to some kind of risk in terms of price fluctuations and volatility."
Hence, it is salient to make sure that the growth is broad-based and is coming from productive sectors and large proportions of the population are contributing to it. "So if you have difficulty in one area, you still can maintain some resilience in the other," he said.
This meant for instance, he said, Ethiopia would not able to control the price of coffee, but could benefit more by adding value to the production.
"Further, it has to base its industrialization effort on coffee and similar agri-production. That is the transformation or diversification that we were talking about. So if you build human capital, improve the skills of people, support entrepreneurship, and put the conditions that are conducive for the private sector to thrive, you can make the economy more sustainable and resilient," Prof. Nnadozie added.
Ethiopian economy has grown in a very satisfactory and enviable manner because as compared to other African countries, it has really maintained a double digit growth for quite some time, an impressive growth rate, he stressed.
He further added that there is no place in the world where development could happen only by the public sector or the private sector alone. "Therefore I think it is a false debate to start thinking about the public vs the private sector. The reality is that for development to occur, you need both. You need both of them to be strong enough to play their respective roles in development," he underlined.
ACBF supports capacity development in Africa through providing fund to grants, investment in capacity development programmes and projects and capacity development advice. According Nnadozie, the foundation is also leveraging knowledge services in capacity development at a country, regional and continental level.
"We have documented over 25 years of the best practices, what works and what does not, and how to do things, how to conduct a continuous assessment, monitoring and evaluation, strengthen institutions," he said.
According to him, the foundation produces African Capacity Report which depicts countries performance in terms of the various dimensions of capacity.
Regarding resource mobilization to develop capacity building projects, he said the foundation has just finished a capacity development programme for Africa jointly with the African Union to achieve the first ten year programme of Agenda 2063. "Now we submitted those programmes to search for funding from various sources including China," he said.