The Regional Programme for Africa is a flagship UNDP programme that responds to challenges and opportunities facing the African continent and to the priorities and aspirations of Africa as articulated by the African Union and other regional organs. As a strategic tool for UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA), the Regional Programme operates as an integrated continental coordination mechanism, and links regional, sub-regional and country development planning processes for greater effectiveness and results.
The current phase the Regional Programme (2018-2021) is taking place during a critical period in the development trajectory of the African continent. While significant advances have been made in the economic, social and governance spheres, these positive development gains are at risk of being undermined by weakening economic growth, high poverty levels, rising inequalities, rising unemployment rates, and incomplete democratic transitions. These dynamics have been made more complex to address due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, which with adverse socio-economic consequences especially for the most vulnerable populations.
Challenges to stability are exacerbated by the resurgence of violent conflict, including extremism and the adverse impacts of climate change within the region. Citizens across Africa are asking for their voices to be heard and thus, inclusivity, and especially voices and needs of young people, women and vulnerable groups across the continent should be incorporated into all programming dimensions.
The regional spill-over of conflicts, combined with the sub-regional and continent-wide effects of globalization, violent extremism, migration, spread of infectious disease, climate change, and exploitation of natural resources have underscored that 'siloed' or 'state-centric' approaches alone will not suffice. In order to address high levels of poverty and youth unemployment and under-employment, meaningful and inclusive structural transformation of African countries must take place.
The Regional Programme is therefore well-positioned to continuously scan the environment to address the continent’s dynamic environment and orient its policy in a way that makes sure no-one is left behind.