Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
It is becoming increasingly evident, but few stakeholders are saying much about it. NEPAD has made some real inroads into the daily-life experiences of many Africans. Take for instance the work that is being done by the Namibia-based Women’s Action for Development — or WAD, as it is commonly known.
One of the beneficiaries of the NEPAD-Spanish Fund for the Empowerment of Women, WAD is an organisation that empowers both women and men on an equal basis in the socio-economic and social upliftment fields of development. It has has been in existence for more than a decade.
“Our explicit goal is to complement the efforts of the Namibian Government to reduce poverty and unemployment and to respect and uphold the principles of good governance and the rule of law in the country”, said Veronica De Klerk, executive director of WAD, at a recent engagement between WAD and a delegation from the NEPAD Secretariat.
As a non-partisan and non-profit NGO, WAD has traditionally received the core of its funding from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS). Although the bulk of the funding is still attached to KAS, in 2008 WAD became one of the beneficiaries of the NEPAD-Spanish Fund.
According to Kossi Toulassi, a fund administrator at the NEPAD Secretariat, “The overall aim of the NEPAD-Spanish Fund is to support activities that will lead to the empowerment of African women and the improvement of their situation in the socio-economic, cultural and political areas of their lives”.
More specifically, the fund is supporting activities in the following areas ; economic empowerment, education, health, environment, as well as social and political participation with a focus on human rights.
The purpose of all activities must be to promote gender equality and enhance the capacities and autonomy of African women in order to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the African continent, and in particular Goal No. 3.
As a result of the NEPAD-Spanish Fund contribution and with support from other donors, WAD has extended its training programmes to all 13 regions of Namibia where 5,000 unemployed people are being trained country-wide for 2008. The idea is to aid them in their efforts to secure jobs and to become self-employed.
The funding of N$2,4 million which WAD received from the NEPAD-Spanish Fund this year came at a time when the organisation was desperate to find an answer to requests from all corners of Namibia for development assistance .
The NEPAD-Spanish Fund triggered a chain reaction of events and actions which has put WAD’s approach to poverty alleviation on a new course.
“Whereas it was always the organisation’s dream to cover the length and breadth of Namibia with its development work one day, we suddenly experienced the dawning of that day,” said Veronica De Klerk.
With the funding of the NEPAD-Spanish Fund, WAD was in a more favourable position to put into action a dynamic project which has been introduced country-wide, to ensure that communities and decision-makers at the regional and local levels would henceforth work in closer partnership to fast-track the reduction of poverty and unemployment in the country.
WAD has also risen to another level in carrying out its country-wide development programmes, in the sense that men are now receiving training by the organisation on an equal basis, while WAD training centres have been decentralised to allow communities to become independent and to make their own decisions.
Another reason for the decentralisation of the WAD centres was to enable the organisation to further expand its training programmes to all 13 regions of the country instead of concentrating solely on the regions where its training centres were located.
With the expansion of WAD to all corners of the country, “Community Voice bodies” were established in each of the regions of the country. The offices are stationed in the so-called “CAPITAL” of each region, from where training workshops in various fields of development are taking place, for the benefit of the entire region.
Given the present funding status of the organisation, all training is conducted free-of-charge to poor, unemployed and unskilled people, but a registration fee of N$10,00 is required to cover some costs attached to the training.
With the Spanish-NEPAD funding WAD has undertaken numerous successful development programmes which it continues to carry out, through the 13 Community Voice offices in the regions, in respect of the following :
To train 5,000 unemployed people and students in the fields of development and gender-related laws by the end of 2008. WAD — in partnership with the University of Namibia and the Ministry of Safety and Security — has commissioned a study on the root causes of violence against women. The findings and recommendations are being channelled through to the Community Voice offices with the aim of setting up debates and workshops to work towards remedial action. The training of San communities on how to set up income-generating projects that can help to improve their living standards. Forty-five students were recently graduated. The training of unemployed Ovahimba youth, who together with the San make up one of the most marginalised culture groups in the country. In partnership with the Council of Churches in Namibia – WAD has trained a number of commercial sex workers. Ninety women have been taken through training that focuses on computer literacy, office administration, breadbaking, tailoring and a number have already found jobs. Training of AIDS orphans to enable them to become self-sustained and to care for their siblings. The training of rural communities to make environmentally friendly paper bricks to complement household fuel, so as to curb deforestation in the country. The production of environmentally-friendly linen shopping bags by rural women : 200,000 have been produced to date. The bags are marketed in local and regional stores. WAD is constantly encouraging rural communities to engage in country-wide tree planting activities, and has agreed to work in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture to encourage unemployed people to produce tree seedlings which can be sold to the Ministry at N$10,00 a tree. This could become an enterprising venture for the unemployed. Having looked at the entire range of WAD activities, Bankole Adeoye, NEPAD Coordinator for External Relations and Partnerships said : “We have now found a focal point in Namibia that is serious and keen on extending the NEPAD agenda when it comes to women’s issues — a focal point that is bent on extending women’s rights. “This is something that is at the core of the NEPAD agenda and the work that we do throughout the continent”.
Despite its successes, WAD is still faced with challenges. According to Veronica De Klerk, a very big challenge is the lack of training space to train its 107 trainers country-wide.
A further major challenge is the lack of self-confidence and self-esteem among rural women because of harmful cultural practices which impede their development.
However, Veronica and her team are not discouraged by these challenges. In the positive spirit that has seen WAD grow from strength to strength she insists that “as an optimist” she is certain that the new generation of Namibians will enjoy the benefits of the work that is done by WAD especially when it comes to improving the status of women in society.
Source : NEPAD, october 10, 2008
12 October, 2nd co-chairs meeting in preparation for the 11th Africa Partnership Forum (APF) in Washington DC, USA.
13-16 October, Meeting on “Institutions, Culture and Corruption in Africa” organised by UNECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
15-17 October, Training of agricultural journalists, NEPAD Midrand, South Africa.
17 October, Validation meeting for the 2008 UNECA/OECD mutual review of development effectiveness report, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
21-22 October, 9th meeting of the Regional Consultation Mechanism, hosted by UNECA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
27 - 29 October, RUROFORUM Ministers meeting, Lusaka, Zambia. Source : Source : NEPAD, october 10, 2008
More than 150 participants from 18 African countries attended the five-day meeting of the 12th Africa Forum which ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 3 October 2008.
Bringing all stakeholders together and sharing experience was essential to achieve results in the agriculture sector, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD), Dr. Abera Deressa, said.
Briefing journalists on the conclusion of the forum organised by MoARD and the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ), the State Minister said the forum served as an important medium for countries to share experiences and learn from each other.
Martin Bwalya of the NEPAD-Secretariat said that efforts to improve the agriculture sector in Africa needed to be integrated.
“It is vital to join the efforts of NEPAD and the Africa Forum together to buttress agricultural development in Africa,” Bwalya said.
“The Africa Forum plays an important role as a peer-learning platform to ensure rural development in the continent,” he said, adding that other forums should be organised to exchange views on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Dr. Albert Engel of the GTZ said the forum was crucial in getting across the African perspective of the global food crisis. He also underscored the experience-sharing significance of the forum for African countries.
He confirmed Germany’s commitment to assisting Africa’s endeavours to boost development in the agriculture sector. Source : NEPAD, october 10, 2008
A Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Disability Regional Conference held in Nairobi on 15-19 September 2008 has called for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the UN development agenda.
The conference, which brought together more than 200 delegates from 24 African countries, appealed to their governments to provide leadership in supporting a motion during the UN General Assembly calling for the establishment of a new UN special agency on disability.
The delegates expressed disappointment at the lack of reference to persons with disabilities in the MDGs, leaving them out in the campaign processes, policies, planning, programmes and implementation.
The delegates asked their respective governments to protect persons with disabilities from the adverse effects of rising costs and include them in existing social protection schemes.
They also asked governments to uphold the principle of gender equity in disability, promote the use of positive language and encourage the use of professional campaigners including goodwill ambassadors.
The delegates resolved to continue advocating for the mainstreaming of disability issues and to engage more in influencing the social development processes.
They also resolved that they would lobby for inclusion in national poverty reduction strategies and other national development plans and initiatives and explore avenues of partnerships with the private sector in their economic empowerment.
Among the resolutions from the delegates were to :
Lobby governments through the African Development Bank and related partners to establish an African Disability Equity Fund to support economic empowerment, entrepreneurship and business of people with disabilities. Recognise the efforts of parents, friends and guardians of people with disabilities and recognise them as part of the wider disability movement. The delegates urged the UN through member states :
To establish a specialist agency on disability in the league of UNICEF and UNIFEM to provide leadership and global accountability on matters related to the disabled people. They called on the African Union and related bodies to :
Set up a disability desk within all African regional bodies to monitor the implementation of both the convention and human rights violation of people with disabilities within the respective regions. Mainstream disability into their programmes and performance management systems. Establish peer review mechanism and performance management system for disability in Africa. Ensure political and social economic representation of people with disabilities in NEPAD and develop terms of reference for their participation. Extend the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities for another 10 years by means of a proclamation at the meeting of the African Heads of State planned for January 2009. The delegates urged all governments to :
Ratify, domesticate and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Recognise disabled people’s organisations as agents of change and therefore as partners in development planning and programmes. Include people with disabilities and disability into their poverty reduction and development programmes. Put into place affirmative action to enhance participation in political social and economic sectors. They called on development partners to :
Prioritise disability as a tool for planning and analysis for development assistance and international cooperation (aid, debt relief and trade). Include and consult people with disabilities and their respective organisations in planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting. Include disability as a requirement / condition for funding development programmes. Source : NEPAD, october 10, 2008
NEPAD, as the Africa Union flagship programme for the socio-economic transformation of the continent, addresses the complex challenges of poverty and underdevelopment facing Africa.
The evolution of the NEPAD programme in response to underdevelopment in Africa was highlighted at a public lecture on the theme, “Confronting Africa’s development challenges – the NEPAD approach”, delivered by Amb. Olukorede Willoughby, Acting Chief Executive of the NEPAD Secretariat at the University of Zululand, South Africa, on October 9 2008. The paper focused on the combined strategy and approach of the African Union and NEPAD, following the adoption of the two initiatives at the turn of the 21st century.
Ambassador Willoughby elaborated on the strategic role of the African Union and the provisions of its Constitutive Act together with the NEPAD vision and mission as the joint approach to addressing Africa’s many development challenges.
The NEPAD objectives, principles and values, the sectoral priorities and main components as well as governance structures were underscored for the university staff and students.
In addition, the progress being made in the implementation of the NEPAD agenda and the impact on Africa’s development agenda and process, including development of sectoral policy frameworks and project/programme execution after years of advocacy, were flagged at the lecture.
The School of Political Science and Public Administration in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Institute organised the public lecture, which was preceded by a courtesy visit to the university rector by Ambassador Willoughby.
Prof. Sathi Moodley, Executive Dean, Administration and Law chaired the lecture, which was well received by the university community. Source : NEPAD, october 10, 2008
Nigeria will rank among the best global economies in the not too distant future, "if all our endowed human and material resources as well as the potentialities are put into full use”, according to Chief (Mrs) Bola Doherty, an executive member of the Nigerian National Working Group of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
The APRM is the voluntary system adopted by member states of the African Union (AU) to assess their performance, with the primary purpose to encourage them to adopt policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration.
These objectives are only achievable through identifying institutional weaknesses and capacity gaps, and adopting appropriate programmes of action to correct them as well as sharing experiences and reinforcing successful and best practices.
Chief Bola Doherty, assistant secretary of the APRM National Steering Committee, the executive organ of the National Working Group, declared in Ibadan a few days ago that "with the noticeable commitment of Nigeria’s authorities to the key areas of NEPAD, there is hope for a brighter future for the nation."
She lauded the seven-point agenda of the present Nigerian administration which, as she put it, is in tandem with Africa’s continental initiatives.
President Umaru Yar’Adua’s agenda is anchored on accelerated achievement of effective power and energy, agriculture and food security, education, health, electoral reform, efficient public transportation as well as an improved and secured Niger Delta region. Doherty underscored Nigeria’s commitment to the continental initiatives, explaining that a series of validation workshops had been held for stakeholders in the various zones of the nation while the APRM Country Review team led by former President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone had visited Nigeria and emerged with the official report on the nation.
She maintained that Nigeria, having proceeded slowly but steadily since March 2003 from Stage One of the five-stage APRM Country Review process to the Country Self-Assessment report, has now reached the final and crucial process of adoption and execution of the National Programme of Action which embraces the four main APRM thematic areas.
"Once the Plan of Action is in place and effectively implemented, the sky is the limit for this country. Nigeria is set to be the best country in the world," Doherty said.
But what actually gives her this sense of conviction ? What are these APRM thematic areas upon which the goals of the initiatives revolve ? Doherty explained that under the four thematic areas — democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance and socio-economic development — the first and primary concern of the initiators is the need for an urgent review of the Nigerian Constitution to address some of the inconsistencies and gaps, especially the rigidity of the federal structure, that give the state and local governments full autonomy and which have been found to be detrimental to the implementation of key national development policies.
Furthermore, there is consensus on the need for political leaders in Nigeria to lead by example. It is also the resolution of the APRM stakeholders that recycling of political office-holders should stop forthwith while other people with fresh ideas should be given opportunities of leadership in the country.
While calling for consistent government policies, the stakeholders had strongly advocated continuity of good government policies and programmes, no matter the party or person in power.
On corruption, which has continued to be the major challenge to Nigeria’s development process, the stakeholders had resolved that efforts at combating the cankerworm should be strengthened while the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices and Allied Offences Commission should also direct their attention to the private sector.
In addition, they contended, there should be diversification of the national economic base : to continue to depend on the volatile revenue from crude oil is not safe for sustainable development. To this end, agriculture and other sectors should be developed to generate employment and reduce poverty.
The envisaged National Programme of Action is billed to take care of corporate governance on infrastructure as well as standards and codes. Stakeholders believe that non-implementation will continue to make Nigeria’s goods and services inferior and non-competitive.
Under the new dispensation the Government is expected to fashion a social security safety net where every Nigerian would be assured of the critical basic needs of life while the vulnerable groups in society such as the aged, children, women and the physically challenged are to be a priority concern at all levels.
The good news is that the National Programme of Action would seem to be in the final stage of implementation by the Nigerian Government. Apart from the fact that President Yar’Adua personally hosted a national dialogue on the APRM validation exercise last December, he pointedly declared the administration’s commitment towards ensuring a successful Country Review mission.
Doherty wants the APRM Country Self Assessment report to be translated and simplified into Nigerian languages for proper dissemination to the grassroots, saying there is need for public sensitisation for increased moral values and service delivery.
Speaking of her personal experience and observation of APRM assessment tours all over the country, Doherty declared :
"I now know that Nigeria has what it takes to make our country not only a giant of Africa but a giant of the world." "If we Nigerians believe in ourselves that we can do it, in a corruption-free society, with sacrifice, devotion, hard work and honesty, we will very very soon have a new Nigeria.”
Africans are in the best position to solve the problems of Africa — Nigerians could solve the problems of Nigeria if they developed the interest, she said.
She urged the governors of the various states of the federation, as a matter of necessity, to embark on exchange programmes with one another in view of the diversified development activities going on in their respective states.
"This is the season of Peer Review. We should review ourselves. We should not just sit down in our cocoon and expect miracles to happen. When we do not know our country very well, how do we contribute to its progress and development ?” Source : NEPAD, october 10, 2008
The African Science and Technology and Innovation Indicators (ASTII) agreement signed in Lilongwe on 23 September 2008 is of “paramount importance”, says Henry Mbedza, director of science and technology in the Malawi Government.
The ASTII is a NEPAD agreement that, among other things, will help Malawi to conduct a survey to measure the impact of science and technology on national development.
Mbedza said a one-year programme will begin in Lilongwe from 27–29 October 2008, which will train 15 government and university staff on collecting statistical data, focusing on the effectiveness of initiatives and investments supporting Malawian science and technology. The information will be able to be used by policymakers to assist them in decision-making.
Participants will be drawn from the Malawi National Statistical Office, Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, Department of Agriculture Research and Technical Services, the National Research Council and the University of Malawi.
The initiative is part of the follow up to the AU/NEPAD consolidated plan of action for science and technology, approved by African Science Ministers in 2005 and adopted by African Union Heads of State and Government in 2007.
The ASTII agreement was signed in Lilongwe by Malawi’s Principal Secretary for Education, Science and Technology, Anthony Livuza and the Acting Head of the NEPAD Office of Science and Technology, Prof. Aggrey Ambali.
Malawi is the 19th African country to sign the agreement. Source : NEPAD, october 10, 2008
The African Union Commission (AUC) will lead efforts to expedite the implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), according to a joint statement by the AUC and USAID on the major outcomes of their meeting on African food security and agricultural partnerships held in New York on 23 September 2008.
The statement said the African Union recognises both the need to urgently expand support for agriculture in Africa and the foundations that have been created for joint programming, mutual accountability and increased coherence of agricultural development assistance.
The CAADP will include steps to advance short, medium and long term actions, including stimulating a near term supply response to meet immediate food needs, urgent steps to work with the private sector to modernise agricultural value chains, reduce poverty and improve infrastructure and trade in Africa to achieve high rates of agricultural growth.
USAID and other development partners committed themselves to work together to tackle key barriers to the implementation of the CAADP process and agenda, especially in countries that are taking steps to advance the CAADP.
The joint statement said a follow up meeting led by the AU will be organised on the margins of the autumn meeting of the World Bank to elucidate key steps, events and actions, including development of a roadmap that will be taken within the next five months to expedite CAADP implementation.
The meeting will provide an opportunity to review the status of the ongoing efforts to put in place the comprehensive investment plans, including short term measures, identify barriers to implementation in 10 countries and clarify steps that will be taken to expedite the establishment and implementation of the CAADP Compacts in these countries.
These steps will move joint donor and African efforts forward around a single integrated plan at the country and regional level.
The meeting will also provide an opportunity to identify and resolve resource gaps for the short and long term technical support needs to enable African organisations to lead, monitor and coordinate the CAADP agenda.
The USAID/AU roundtable event included leaders from major continental, regional and country level public agencies in Africa engaged in advancing CAADP including : AUC, NEPAD, COMESA, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Senegal, Malawi, and Nigeria as well as international development agencies supporting CAADP and related agricultural development efforts in Africa.
Key observations and messages
President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania submitted comments reaffirming the CAADP as “the key instrument by which we can ultimately attain MDG number one, which requires us to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.”
He reaffirmed that African governments will “undertake the necessary reforms toward increasing budgetary allocation to agriculture, improvement of the enabling environment for private sector participation and promotion of regional integration to expand markets.”
Dr. Jean Ping, Chairman of the African Union Commission, noted with appreciation the global commitment to CAADP through the G-8 and various bilateral and multilateral agencies. He also sought concrete support of interventions through investment financing at regional and national levels.
“We would like to see the CAADP Roundtable process fast-tracked and we are keen to see a minimum of at least 10 countries complete this process by the end of 2008. Beyond this we want country CAADP Compacts defined and resources committed to implement them.”
Henrietta Holsman Fore, USAID Administrator, said in support of the CAADP : “We must redouble our efforts to increase the productivity of food value chains, reduce barriers to regional trade, and build the infrastructure to make agriculture work for African smallholder producers.”
On the role of effective governance in the CAADP she added : “The AU/NEPAD is providing critical leadership, working with countries and regional organisations to develop short and long term plans at the country and regional level to stimulate agricultural growth and address the root causes of food security.
“We need one plan that integrates the efforts of all parties around which we can rally development efforts and link short and long term efforts.
“Donors have worked together to support a multi-donor CAADP trust fund established by the World Bank. It will be operational in the near term to assist African institutions. Deeper efforts are now needed to ensure field staff and programmes of development agencies are implementing their commitments.
“We recognise the short-term needs, but cannot lose sight of the urgent need to move the longer term agenda. CAADP plans and processes need to integrate and advance short and long term actions, concurrently.
“African governments need to meet their pledges and ensure their country CAADP processes are sufficiently supported. They must move rapidly to increase financing for programmes to increase agricultural productivity by investing in CAADP pillar priorities such as land, water, infrastructure, research and technology and support for the chronically food insecure.
“In sum, the roadmap needs to be agreed to and established in order to expedite implementation of the CAADP short and long term goals of increasing agricultural productivity and food security.”