Africa Progress Panel

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The Africa Progress Panel (APP) consists of ten distinguished individuals from private and public sectors who advocate for shared responsibility between African leaders and their international partners to promote equitable and sustainable development for Africa. It seeks to ensure that African issues remain prominent in global development discussions, and that the requisite level of support and action is generated for African development. Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel Laureate, chairs the Panel and is closely involved in its day-to-day work.

The Panel was originally formed through a UK Government initiative as a vehicle to maintain focus on the commitments to Africa made by the international community in the wake of the Gleneagles G8 Summit in 2005 and the Commission for Africa Report in 2007. As such, the Panel focuses on complex and high-impact issues such as global governance, peace and security, climate change, food security, sustainable economic development, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While these issues have immediate ramifications for Africa, effectively tackling them requires bringing together a wide range of stakeholders within and outside Africa.

Panel members are well placed to effect positive change on such issues. Their life experiences and personal influence give them unusual access to the highest level of policy makers in Africa and around the world. The Panel also has exceptional networks of policy analysts, practitioners and academics.

Panel members advocate to effect positive change both in their individual capacities as members of the Panel and through the Panel’s publications, chiefly, its Africa Progress Report, published annually in May. Though the Panel itself meets only twice a year, Panel members continually assesses opportunities and threats to Africa’s development, including how far commitments to Africa have been met. They use their judgment and experience to highlight pressing concerns, inspire honest debate amongst leaders and civil society, help mobilise resources and prompt effective action.

The Panel’s work is supported by a Geneva-based secretariat, established in 2008 and presently headed by Caroline Kende-Robb. The Secretariat supports the Panel in three main areas: research and policy; advocacy and communication; and preparation of APP core products, including Africa Progress Reports, periodic news bulletins, and policy briefs. At the end of 2014, the secretariat is due to move from Geneva to an Africa-based institution.


The Panel's mission is to advocate for more sustainable and equitable development in Africa, and to help ensure that the requisite support, action and results are generated for this purpose.

The Panel's work[edit]

The Panel’s primary ‘stream’ of work centers around its flagship annual Africa Progress Report, the purpose of which is to draw attention to specific issues impeding Africa’s development, recommend ways to overcome them and catalyze action by responsible actors.

The Panel’s other ‘stream’ of work is Panel members’ advocacy on policies affecting Africa through their own individual influence. Much of this advocacy is based on the recommendations in Africa Progress Reports and takes place in fora where Panel members can actively contribute to shaping policy priorities and decisions at the highest-level.

Panel member Bob Geldof, for example, described the 2013 Africa Progress Report on managing Africa’s vast natural resource wealth as a “bombshell”. Kofi Annan and other Panel members presented the report’s main findings and recommendations to meetings of the G8, the G20, and the UN Security Council. Through such interventions, the report has been used by policymakers as a basis for action. A key example is the tax reforms committed to by G20 countries, which the Panel said, “must benefit Africa too”.[1]

The reforms include requiring extractive companies to disclose their payments and corporate ownership structures on a central public register in order to determine their effective tax liability. The Panel’s 2013 Africa Progress Report described in detail how anonymous shell companies can be used to deprive African countries of much needed resources for development. The report considered five deals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in which state-owned mineral concessions were systematically undervalued and sold to companies whose ultimate (“beneficial”) owners remain unknown but which are incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, an overseas British territory. Undervaluation of these assets cost the DRC an estimated US$1.4 billion, roughly equal to twice the combined annual health and education budgets. These losses, said the Panel, might conservatively be described as tragic for a country where 17 out of every 100 children die before their fifth birthday and some seven million children do not go to school.[2]

Although it is difficult to draw a consistent link, the Panel’s recommendations have provided impetus for, or lent weighty support to, regulatory reform processes around the world that are seeking to increase transparency in extractive industries. As of October 2013, these include processes in the US (in relation to the Dodd-Frank Act), the EU (in relation to the Fourth Money Laundering Directive[3]), the UK (in relation to its ‘trust and transparency’ in business consultation),[4] the DRC (in relation to its new oil & gas bill and revised mining law[5]) and Kenya (in relation to reforms to its mining law).[6]

In summary, through Panel members’ individual influence and the Panel’s publications, the Panel’s work aims to shape policy priorities and high-level decisions affecting Africa’s development. This involves:

  • Identifying drivers of equitable growth, such as investment in infrastructure, energy and entrepreneurship;
  • Tracking progress by highlighting good policies and practices that lead to sustained development in African countries;
  • Monitoring the role of Africa’s trading, donor and investment partners in supporting the continent’s progress; and
  • Encouraging action and partnerships to address issues that determine the quality of growth and human development, such as employment, maternal health and climate change.

More concretely, the Panel’s work involves:

  • Publishing the Africa Progress Reports, policy briefs, bulletins, press releases, op eds and blogs on current topics that have so far received insufficient attention or are lacking a clear champion;
  • Drawing media attention to crucial issues, especially in the run-up to important events such as G8 and G20 meetings;
  • Raising the profile of African and international partners, and strengthening partnerships between key actors (political leaders and institutions, experts, and civil society and private sector organisations); and
  • Participating in various political fora and high-level regional and international meetings to promote the recommendations in Africa Progress Reports and affect policy change.

The Panel[edit]

The Panel is composed of the following 10 members:

The Secretariat[edit]

As the Panel is a voluntary group of individuals who meet and communicate on a regular basis, much of the work required for it to achieve its mission falls to the Africa Progress Panel Foundation. Without the Secretariat, the good intentions of the Panel would not translate into actions and results.

The Secretariat, a non-profit foundation under Swiss law, consists of a three-person board and a small Geneva-based staff. The Secretariat supports the Panel in three important areas:

  • Research and policy analysis;
  • Advocacy and communication;
  • Preparation of core products, including the annual Africa Progress Report, occasional news bulletins, and policy briefs on timely issues.

The Secretariat is headed by Executive Director Caroline Kende-Robb and Deputy Director Max Bankole Jarrett.


Africa Progress Panel publications fall into three categories: its flagship Africa Progress Report, and occasional bulletins and policy briefs.

The Africa Progress Report[edit]

Africa Progress Report 2013 – Equity in Extractives: Stewarding Africa’s Natural Resources for All[edit]

The 2013 Africa Progress Report's hard-hitting findings and policy recommendations have received substantial international attention. For example, British Prime Minister David Cameron cited the report in his G8 address in June 2013[7] and again in launching a consultation on ‘trust and transparency’ in business in the UK.[8] Cameron has been under pressure to urge Britain’s overseas territories and crown dependencies, host to many extractive companies operating in Africa, to cooperate with his government’s tax transparency reforms.

Africa’s economies have been riding the crest of a global commodity wave that could transform the continent’s prospects. The 2013 Africa Progress Report explains how this unprecedented chance could lift millions out of poverty and improve the prospects of generations to come.

The report sets out an agenda for maximising Africa’s natural resource wealth and using it to improve well-being. African governments should start with a strengthened focus on fiscal policy and equitable public spending on infrastructure, health, education, water and sanitation. Moves towards greater transparency and accountability should be broadened and deepened.

International action can create an enabling environment for strengthened governance in Africa. Tax evasion, illicit transfers of wealth and unfair pricing practices are sustained through global trading and financial systems – and global problems need multilateral solutions. African citizens should demand that their governments meet the highest standards of propriety and disclosure. Governments in developed countries should demand the same thing of companies registered in, or linked to, their jurisdictions.

Foreign investors can play a critical role in facilitating change by partnering with governments to strengthen transparency, by supporting skills development, and by carefully assessing the social and environmental impacts of their operations – and many companies are providing leadership in these areas.

The surge in resource wealth brings with it complex challenges and very real risks. Yet it also brings an unrivalled opportunity. And with new exploration revealing much larger reserves than were previously known, Africa stands to reap a natural resource windfall. If this resource wealth is managed effectively and equitably, it could put the region on a pathway towards dynamic and inclusive growth.

The 2013 report was launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa on 8 June 2013 by Kofi Annan, Linah Mohohlo, and Strive Masiyiwa.[9]

Africa Progress Report 2012 - Jobs, Justice and Equity: Seizing Opportunities in Times of Global Change[edit]

For many of Africa’s people, rapid growth and rising wealth has failed to translate into better lives. The 2012 Africa Progress Report looks at three of the most critical ingredients for transforming a promising economic upturn into a sustained recovery and lasting human development – jobs, justice and equity.

Africa’s economies are consistently growing faster than those of almost any other region – and at twice the rate of the 1990s. For the first time in over a generation, the number of people living in poverty has fallen. Fewer children are dying before their fifth birthday and more are getting into school. Democracy is growing deeper roots. Governance standards are improving.

Yet there is another side to the balance sheet. Countries across Africa are becoming richer but whole sections of society are being left behind. After a decade of buoyant growth, almost half of Africans still live on less than $1.25 a day. Wealth disparities are increasingly visible. The current pattern of trickle-down growth is leaving too many people in poverty, too many children hungry and too many young people without jobs. Unequal access to health, education, water and sanitation is reinforcing wider inequalities. Smallholder agriculture has not been part of the growth surge, leaving rural populations trapped in poverty and vulnerability.

The deep, persistent and enduring inequalities in evidence across Africa have consequences. They weaken the bonds of trust and solidarity that hold societies together. Over the long run, they will undermine economic growth, productivity and the development of markets.

The Africa Progress Report 2012 highlights jobs because livelihoods play such a fundamental role in people’s life-chances – and because Africa urgently needs to create jobs for a growing youth population. It highlights justice and equity because they are missing from the lives of too many Africans, making the present growth socially unsustainable.

The launch of the report was covered by many international news publications, including The Wall Street Journal,[10] The Guardian,[11] and The Financial Times.[12] The African Business Magazine ran a cover story based on the report.[13] Caroline Kende-Robb and Olusegun Obasanjo were also interviewed for a video series for This Is Africa.[14]

Africa Progress Report 2011 - The Transformative Power of Partnerships[edit]

The 2011 Africa Progress Report, was launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa on 5 May 2011 by Kofi Annan, Linah Mohohlo, Graça Machel, and Olusegun Obasanjo.

The report focuses on the transformative power of partnerships to drive sustained social and economic development. The report highlights the comparatively swift and broad recoveries from the global financial and economic crises that many African economies have made but warns that the ‘low quality’ of this growth could threaten its sustainability and is undermining the continent’s development chances. The report argues that harnessing the energy, creativity and resources of public, private and third-sector parties will be vital to speeding development in Africa, it argues.

Africa Progress Report 2010 - From Agenda to Action: Turning Resources into Results for People[edit]

The 2010 Africa Progress Report, was launched on Africa Day in Johannesburg, South Africa on 25 May 2010 by Kofi Annan, Peter Eigen, Linah Mohohlo, and Olusegun Obasanjo. The report was launched in coordination with the launch of ONE's 2010 DATA Report.

The report argues that Africa’s growth needs to be measured not just in GDP figures but also by the degree to which it brings social benefits for all its people. Focusing on Africa’s emergence as a “new economic frontier”, the Report notes that economic engagement with the Global South – China, the Far and Middle East, South Asia and Latin America – is already having a substantial development impact on Africa but that there is room for improvement and more Africans need to benefit.

Africa Progress Report 2009 - An Agenda for Progress at a Time of Global Crisis: A Call for African Leadership[edit]

The 2009 Africa Progress Report was launched at the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa on 10 June 2009 by Kofi Annan, Michel Camdessus, Linah Mohohlo, and Graça Machel.

The report argues that as the barriers to progress multiply, the quality of political leadership has become ever more relevant – and Africa is no exception. Accountability is the soundest basis for leadership, and for ensuring that precious financial resources, whether from domestic sources or donors, are best used to deliver tangible results.

Africa Progress Report 2008 - Africa's Development: Promises and Prospects[edit]

The 2008 Africa Progress Report was launched in London, United Kingdom on 16 June 2008 by Kofi Annan, Michel Camdessus, and Tidjane Thiam.

Policy Briefs[edit]

Policy Briefs briefs are succinct and rigorous documents that highlight a pressing concern (e.g. the impact of climate change on Africa, the prevalence of maternal mortality or the need for domestic accountability). They are intended to inspire debate on the basis of success stories, blockages and recommendations for action and aimed at specific constituencies.


Bulletins are intended to provide Panel members, their staff and key stakeholders with snapshots of issues and events of central concern to the Panel and its work.

See also[edit]


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  10. ^ Moore, Solomon (11 May 2012). "Africa Growth Isn't Meeting Needs of Young, Poor: Report". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Elliot, Larry (11 May 2012). "Africa's spectacular growth jeopardised by rising inequality, new report warns". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Manson, Katrina (11 May 2012). "Sub-Saharan inequality threatens stability". The Financial Times. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  13. ^ African Business Magazine (May 2012). "Africa's progress under threat". African Business Magazine. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  14. ^ This is Africa. "WEF Africa 2012: The African growth series". Retrieved 6 June 2012. 

External links[edit]