Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
South Africa, in collaboration with key African countries, has been at the forefront in developing NEPAD as Africa’s premier development programme, in mobilising international, continental and regional support for NEPAD and in supporting the NEPAD structures and processes, said South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Suzette van der Merwe, when she opened the NEPAD Projects Conference : Strengthening Partnerships for Implementation, in Sandton on 8 October 2007.
The NEPAD Implementation Strategy for South Africa (NISSA), she said, “will serve as a road map, working in partnership with the private sector and civil society to realise the developmental objectives of both the country and the continent”.
Discussing the implementation of NEPAD in South African foreign policy, the Deputy Minister said :
While NEPAD is foremost a partnership between and among Africans, it also seeks to accelerate sustainable development in Africa through partnerships with other countries of the South, and to forge a new partnership with the developed North that changes the unequal relationship with Africa.
To this end, NEPAD serves as the implementing vehicle for the international commitments in support of Africa’s development.
In order for NEPAD to maximise its effectiveness and impact continentally, it needs to be integrated into the African Union
This will send out a strong international signal that NEPAD is the endorsed socio-economic programme of the AU. It will further strengthen the mandate and programmes of action of the AU.
On the role of national governments in the implementation of NEPAD, she said :
In terms of country-level ownership of its economic development, national governments play a central role in the implementation of NEPAD.
The NEPAD Secretariat identifies the critically important functions of national governments as :
Internalising NEPAD values and principles, with an emphasis on ownership of the development process and increased self-reliance ;
Deepening engagement with the private sector and civil society with respect to NEPAD programmes ;
Accelerating the adoption of NEPAD programmes as frameworks and guidelines for national development plans, such as Poverty Reduction Strategies ;
Ensuring compliance with major African Union and Regional Economic Community (REC) resolutions linked to the implementation of NEPAD programmes ; and
Ensuring that the country takes advantage of international support mobilised for growth and development, for example through the G-8 Africa Action Plan.
In preparing South Africa’s national implementation strategy, we have taken all these elements into cognisance.
On the definition of a NEPAD project, the Deputy Minister said :
To roll-out NISSA effectively, it is equally important for all concerned to have a common working definition of what constitutes a NEPAD project.
This is important as there has been much misunderstanding as to what constitutes a NEPAD project and whether it has made any impact in achieving its stated objectives.
The determination of the success factors of NEPAD is thus dependent on an understanding in the first instance as to what constitutes such a project.
A national NEPAD project is defined as a flagship project that supports the goals, principles and vision of NEPAD. It must focus on development and impact positively on people on the ground.
It also has to have the potential to be expanded into a regional and/or continental project and must be formally accredited and presented as a NEPAD project to make it visible and relevant to the people.
Finally, it must be captured on a central database and driven and monitored on an ongoing basis.
On the development of NEPAD implementation strategies, she said :
If we look at the trend on the continent, it is clear that over the past four years, NEPAD projects have developed around critical sectors. These include :
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme ;
The Short-Term Action Plan for Infrastructure Development ;
The Science and Technology Consolidated Action Plan ;
The Environment Plan ;
The AU/NEPAD Health Strategy ;
The Education Action Plan ;
The Tourism Action Plan ;
Standards and guidelines for the African Peer Review Mechanism ;
Facilitation of some of the AU’s peace-support operations ; and
The Africa Productive Capacity Initiative.
Referring to the linkage of NEPAD to local economic development, the Deputy Minister said :
According to a guideline prepared by the World Bank, “…local economic development is the process by which public, business and nongovernmental sector partners work collectively to create better conditions for economic growth and employment generation. The aim is to improve the quality of life for all”.
In this process of finding an alignment between the local economic development programmes and the regional development programmes, it is clear that the private sector can play a valuable role in bridging the gap between national and regional programmes.
In concluding her opening address, she said :
As a long-term development programme, critical success factors for NEPAD include the following : enhanced political leadership ; ownership by the people of Africa ; strengthening institutional, human and financial capacity of national, regional and continental development institutions ; and increased support by the international community.
In looking forward therefore, it is crucial that :
We should strengthen our efforts to accelerate the implementation of NEPAD programmes, maintaining both an internal and an external focus ;
The linkages to NEPAD be established at the national level to ensure that NEPAD is made relevant and has a positive impact on the quality of life of all ; and
A close interface be defined and maintained between NEPAD and the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), considering the latter as the regional face of NEPAD. NEPAD News, 0ctober 12, 2007