The continental vision by the Africa Union Agenda 2063 has led to the development of a transformational strategy and operational framework that represents a blueprint for transforming Africa into a global powerhouse in the future. However, the African aspirations of achieving high standards of living, quality of life and well-being, healthy and well-nourished, educated and innovative citizens under this effort remain unrealized, and the associated ﬂagship programs under Africa 2063 have had a slow start 10-years into the 50-year horizon. In the current global system, the African continent is clearly left behind and remains at the periphery of global priority setting and focus. This is evident politically, economically, and in terms of health risks and response to the pandemic, including vaccine distribution, which has reached only 7% in Africa even as many donor countries are awash in unadministered doses. The African experience with the COVID-19 pandemic further exposed key vulnerabilities for the continent. This experience has only emphasized the necessity of accelerating the pace of progress and regaining lost ground on the continent.
Renewed African perspectives, ﬁnding African-led solutions, and rethinking and reimagining a different future for health and economic resiliency in Africa is important. It also requires facilitated discourse, research and difﬁcult conversations within Africa and amongst scholars of various disciplines, reviewing the past, and reﬂecting on the current state. It is these observations that have informed the idea to constitute a forward-looking ﬂagship, The Initiative on the Future of Health and Economic Resiliency in Africa, which will be undertaken in collaboration with The Lancet journal.
The aim of the Initiative is to provide a forum for robust intellectual inquiry, research, and knowledge generation that will serve as a foundation for informed dialogues, policies and action by individuals, communities, and countries to shape the future of health and economic resiliency, in line with the vision for Africa 2063. This will be achieved through convening a) core panel of experts from academia, practitioners, and policymakers, to lead thinking around the priorities for intervention, b) relevant thematic task forces and technical secretariats to undertake analyses and synthesis, and c) disseminating the key ﬁndings of the Initiative through peer-reviewed publications in The Lancet and strategic public communication engagements. Through these actions, the Initiative will inﬂuence the actions of global, regional and national actors to shape the emergence of a better future for health.