In recent years, Africa as part of a globalized world has faced challenges such as the Covid-
19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine Crisis which have demonstrated the continent’s
vulnerability to external shocks. These external shocks threaten to erode progress made
towards the attainment of Agenda 2063 at the national, regional, and continental levels.
Progress towards Agenda 2063 is further threatened by local shocks triggered by internal
socio-economic factors, environmental crises, and internal conflicts affecting some
countries across the continent.
External Shock and Their Impact On Africa
According to the UNCTAD, “Africa imported about 85% of its food (2016-2018) from
outside the continent,” amounting to $35bn and is expected to reach $110bn by 2025. As a
result of such over-dependence on external imports to feed its population as well as cater to
its other needs for agriculture and energy consumption, the continent is currently facing
repercussions on its food systems as well as supply chain affecting the majority of the
population due to price shocks on necessary products imported from both Russia and
Ukraine. In that case, robust investment in agriculture, infrastructure, and industrial
development is fundamental in Africa’s development trajectory to a better future
Internal Shocks and Their Impact On Development
Consequently, while Africa’s youthful population put the continent at an advantage of
having a sufficient labor force, it also put it at a disadvantage in facing social, political, and
economic instability if this demographic advantage is not put to use. The eruption of global
crises exacerbates the danger of youth becoming the source of an African liability rather
than an asset considering the repercussions that such crises create on the continent’s youth
as far as the socio-economic development is concerned.
Therefore, taking measures such as economic diversification to reduce the dependence of a
single sector in promoting economic development as well as reduction of reliance on
external imports to cater to the needs of the population is an important step toward Africa’s
On top of that, there is a need for systemic resilience in national development planning and implementation processes.
AUC and AUDA-NEPAD Responses To Both External and Internal Shocks
However, it is important to note that the AUC and its organs have provided strategic
responses to these shocks. The AU Centres of Disease Control and Prevention’s robust institutional response and leadership, and the Department of Agriculture Rural
Development and Blue Economy (DARBE)’s collaboration with the African Development
Bank(AfDB) to promote an Emergency Food Production Plan to avert Africa’s impending
food crisis, as well as the AUDA-NEPAD response to the COVID-19 pandemic, are vivid
examples of efforts done at the continental level to address such challenges.
In this context, more deliberate efforts at the national and continental levels are needed to
ensure that the countries and the continent can withstand both internal and external shocks
that can inhibit the attainment of both global and continental development blueprints such
as Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 respectively.
Opportunities In Africa
Such investment in potential sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure, and industrial
development will be critical in fast-tracking economic growth as well as addressing the
uncertainties that can be triggered by a demographic crisis of the unemployed youthful
population across the continent. Considering the sensitivity of these sectors to economic
development and how interconnected they are, such investment will also position Africa’s
role in the global trade market and promote economic growth.
Finally, Africa will need to take advantage of the existing frameworks such as the African
Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as a mechanism to promote intra-trade within the
continent and most important respond to and build resilience over shocks that can be
triggered due to the impact on the global markets as a result of global crises such as Climate
change, COVID-19 and geopolitical conflicts.
Seleman Yusuph Kitenge is a Project Assistant Knowledge Capitalization Division at AUDA-NEPAD