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The AFRA Programme must lead to the sharing of resources, knowledge and expertise among the participating countries, the transfer of technology available in advanced countries to countries where such technology is needed; and the creation of regional capabilities that, once developed, will, in turn, lead to further regional cooperation. This demands vision, commitment and effective management.

The AFRA Programme is composed of a set of cooperative projects which are endorsed by at least three member states. An AFRA project is the vehicle that translates external and internal funds into a development objective designed to meet identified human needs of end-users and has a significant social and economic impact. It must be technically sound and should be based on a cost-benefit analysis.

The project has a time limit for producing the expected achievements, a workplan, a schedule of inputs and outputs and a budget. AFRA projects must emphasise the following elements:

1. It entails mutual collaboration and full involvement of participating countries in the design, formulation and implementation of project activities. Projects should make use of the existing expertise and facilities in the participating countries. Inputs, such as the provision of experts and training, should be drawn as far as possible from within the participating countries or other developing countries.

2. Projects must respond to the needs of participating countries and address serious problems common to them. They should have a clear inter-country dimension, a limited duration and attainable and measurable objectives and significant impact.

3. Efforts must be combined to implement a small number of projects within high priority areas to which participating countries would be prepared to contribute resources and which would also attract outside resources, leading to demonstrable mutual benefit.