The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established in September 2000. Thought to bridge all areas in need of development, the MDGs were created with eight goals:
- “To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Achieve universal primary education
- Promote gender equality and empower women
- Reduce child mortality
- Improve maternal health
- Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
- Ensure environmental sustainability
- Develop a global partnership for development” 
After fifteen years, in direct response to the MDGs, the entire continent of Africa has seen a reduction in infant mortality rates and the number of individuals with HIV/AIDS, while seeing an increasing number of women in parliament and children in primary school. Although progress was made, the deadline for achieving the goals – 2015 – passed with work still needing to be done. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were developed in 2015 with the hope that the momentum provided by the MDGs could continue in the seventeen categories noted in the chart below:
Photo courtesy of the United Nations. https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs
Many scholars, politicians, and humanitarians are aware of the MDGs are a predecessor to the SDGs, however few people are cognizant of the fact that the African Union Agenda 2063 also had influence on the creation of the SDGs. While the MDGs and SDGs were both established with a global mindset, the continent of Africa chose to also involve themselves in the African Union Agenda 2063, an agenda that focuses on the continent of Africa specifically. While the SDGs were established with the expectation for progress to occur within the next fifteen years, Agenda 2063 was created with a timeframe of fifty years, and with those fifty years, seven “aspirations” were set:
- “A Prosperous Africa, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
- An integrated continent, politically united, based on the ideals of Pan Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
- An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
- A Peaceful and Secure Africa
- Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics
- An African whose development is people driven, relying on the potential offered by people, especially its women and youth and caring for children
- An Africa as a strong, united, resilient and influential global player and partner” 
While numerous non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations have been active on the continent since the 1970s, this agenda is significant because it places the agency with Africans themselves. Agenda 2063 proves its uniqueness through a bottom-up approach; rather than have international or outside organizations dictate the who and when of development, a bottom-up approach enables Africans to have a voice in what they want and a hand in how it happens.
Agenda 2063 has obvious implications for political, economic, and social advances, but many researchers are focusing on the idea that, if Agenda 2063 makes notable progress, many African countries could become world players, immersing themselves in international affairs. Numerous scholars place doubt on Africa’s ability to successfully develop within fifty years, insisting the difficulty to develop lies within a combination of weak governance, political instability, and insecurity – a combination that can be found transcontinentally.  However, many researchers make claims related to the power of Africa, proposing a reawakening of Africa that could have significant implications for the world. In highlighting aspirations 3, 4, and 5, Oluwaseun Tella suggests that the African Union (AU) could be the first union to become an active force in international soft power – the idea that “soft power actors are able to influence other actors due to the attractiveness embedded in the former’s values, culture, and policies”.  But neither doubting scholars nor optimistic researchers can claim their projections as fact until the fifty year span has come to an end. In the meantime, the world waits and watches – ready to see Africa’s next move.
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