Priority Africa

© UNESCO / S. Santimono

The programme "Priority Africa" ​​was launched in 1989 in response to priorities expressed by African countries in the Lagos Plan of Action for the economic and social development of Africa, adopted in 1980 by the Heads of State of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) during an extraordianary session devoted to economic problems of the continent.

The programme was then inscribed in the framework of the final phase of the Programme of Action for the United Nations Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990 (UNPAAERD), where UNESCO had  specifically been charged to promote the development of human resources that Africa needed.

In 1995, UNESCO organised an international meeting entitled "Audience Africa", in order determine the priorities of the continent in the framework of the World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen (1995). Further to the recommendations made by this meeting, was created a coordinating structure that is going to handle any action taken by the Organisation in favour of Africa: the Priority Africa Department, which later became the Africa Department, meaning that the priority lies in the programmes and not in the structure.

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