The Africa Progress Panel (APP) and its Chairman, Kofi Annan, the decorated former UN Secretary General, will launch their flagship publication, the Africa Progress Report on 10 May 2013. The Panel is made up of eminent global policy thinkers and shapers such as Kofi Annan, Michel Camdessus, Peter Eigen, Bob Geldof, Graça Machel, Strive Masiyiwa, Linah Mohohlo, Olusegun Obasanjo, Robert E Rubin and Tidjane Thiam. These are global voices and not mere echoes.
The Panel is supported by a secretariat headquartered in Geneva and headed by Caroline Kende-Robb. As alluded to on the Africa Progress Panel website, the Panel uses its influence and sagacity to advocate for equitable and sustainable progress in Africa. A gift to Africa, the report draws from its Panel’s immense depth of experience, knowledge, skill and a network of expertise from across various policy sectors within and outside the continent—the breadth of which can only be appreciated by taking a look at the impressive acknowledgements page of an Africa Progress Report. Suffice to say that if individual sub-Saharan African countries were to commission an enterprise of such proportions for themselves, it would cost a small fortune—not to mention the near impossibility of gathering such heavy weights together at one table of consultation.
It is not uncommon to find policy oriented reports about Africa swaying to extremes—either being overly pessimistic or overly optimistic. The Africa Progress Report thankfully does neither of this. Neither does it make light of the very complicated nature of challenges facing the continent. It simply identifies challenges, navigates their chimerc complexities and eventually offers practicable recommendations targeting leaders within the policy sphere.
In Mr. Annan’s December 10, 2001 Nobel Lecture, he made reference to the butterfly effect. It refers to how massive phenomena are initially triggered by small events. For example, a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world might ultimately cause a hurricane in another part of the world.
To juxtapose the butterfly effect with Aristotle’s difference between good and bad political arrangements, it is hoped that in the near future, like the flapping of a butterfly’s wings, the annual Africa Progress Reports would contribute to the ability of sub-Saharan Africans to lead “flourishing lives” characterized by enlarged people’s choices manifested in the people’s ability to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated, to enjoy a decent standard of living, political freedom, guaranteed human rights and self respect.
To say, I await the launch with eagerness would be an understatement. I encourage anyone interested to visit the Africa Progress Panel website and its social media platforms where there is a countdown to the 10 May 2013 launch.