Health Services

Influencing for Africa: Post-COVID & Beyond – Oxfam International Pan Africa Program Progress Report 2022

Executive summary

This Progress Report covers the period 2018 to 2022 – a period of challenges and change for the world, for Africa and for the Pan Africa Program (PAP). During that period the COVID-19 pandemic hit hard. Although Africa experienced fewer deaths and infections than had been anticipated, it spotlighted the shortcomings in the continent’s health systems, economic and political structures and the inequality of its relationships with global partners. This was most starkly evidenced in the global failure to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. But the pandemic also undid decades of positive development work and has left the continent poorer, more vulnerable and with less space for civil society to speak out.

This period began with a moment of hope

PAP’s 2019 ‘Rethinking Africa’ conference was an opportunity to confront not just the many challenges facing the continent but to reimagine Oxfam’s approach to tackling those challenges.
We listened to some hard truths – as well as encouragement and endorsement – from our partners and with their steer have radically reconfigured our team and our ways of working.

A new, unified way of working

Learning to do more with less, we are working in a less siloed way, with five thematic areas all working to a common set of objectives.

We are supporting and making space for our partners within African civil society to speak out for themselves and supporting them where they need us to do so.

We are engaging with continental and global decision makers at the highest level, through the African Union and through Oxfam’s own global policy mechanisms to bring about lasting change in the biggest challenges facing the African people; economic, climate and gender injustice, inequality, precarious food systems, lack of accountable governance and weak humanitarian and conflict policy.

Our successes and achievements

With the new approach, the new PAP team has succeeded in creating or engaging in several significant opportunities for African civil society to influence continental level policy and supporting them to do so. The strategic focus area in which we have gained the most achievements is in enhancing African civil society’s policy advocacy at the AU.

Achievements include convening Africa-wide high-level dialogues around Inequality in Africa, such as the High-Level Panel in Addis Ababa on the side-lines of the Feb 2020 AU Summit with Sierra Leone President H.E. Maada Bio; Launching the Africa Brief on the ‘Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index’; Raising our voices against an international financial architecture that is skewed against countries in the Global South.

We looked at the linkages between African cultural practices, food security, and conflict and explored the impact of COVID-19 on small-scale farming, food security and sovereignty in Africa.

We launched our ground-breaking ‘Care Policy Score Card,’ for assessing country progress towards an enabling policy environment on care; partnering with African and international organizations to call for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines in Africa; and prompting discussion on enhanced Civil Society Organization (CSO) engagement with the AU and its EU partnership process. We have also pledged to support our 116 national humanitarian civil society partner organizations in influencing humanitarian aid systems and responses, after supporting their participation in the 2022 AU Humanitarian Summit.

PAP as a vital link

PAP functions as a vital link between Oxfam country programs and the AU, so engendering a pan-African agenda in country programs and with partners is an important area of work that we anticipate will expand further in future.

So far, we have brought Oxfam country program teams together to develop a strategy for Africa-wide food security, in line with the AU theme of ‘Strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security on the African continent’, and to engage in joint planning of the Fair for All program. We have also worked with Oxfam in Uganda and Oxfam in Zambia in conducting Fair Tax Monitoring Research to understand the depth of tax-related gender inequalities in the context of Covid-19 and beyond. In 2022, we have coordinated with all countries and regions as well as invested affiliates to develop an Oxfam in Africa Climate Strategy whose roll-out will gain momentum in the pre- and post-COP 27 engagements.

Knowledge platform

We have made progress towards developing a knowledge platform to support African countries in their continental influencing on development issues; for example, we created a documentary on the impact of COVID-19 on unpaid care work in African households; conducted research both for influencing energy transition in Zambia and for the Africa Mining Vision as a whole; and published an editorial series highlighting the challenges in the current state of food security in postCOVID-19 Africa.

Looking to the future

We will continue to pursue Oxfam’s vision of a self-reliant, democratic, and peaceful Africa that is responsive to the rights and development needs of her citizens. We will continue to build on the knowledge and experience of Oxfam colleagues, African civil society, African institutions and national governments as well as from experts from around the world to make the needs of African citizens known and acted upon in the appropriate spheres of power. Accordingly, Oxfam International has begun the process of transitioning to the OiA structure which will absorb Oxfam’s current regional structures, as well as PAP itself by April 2023.

The new ‘Oxfam in Africa’ (OiA) model presents opportunities for newer and more integrated ways of working in line with Oxfam’s Global Strategic Framework and ambition. Although PAP as we know it will cease to exist with the emergence of OiA, the new model will benefit immensely from PAP’s experiences. It has paved the way to enable us – and African civil society more widely – to build collective agency to engage more effectively in the continent and the rest of the world. This will strengthen our ability to tackle the major issues of the day and ensure that our youthful continent can fulfill its potential and ambitions and take its rightful place on the world stage

Source: Evaluation and Lessons Learned