Président de la Commission de l’Union Africaine (depuis le 1er. février 2008)
The African diplomatic community accredited to Kenya and representatives of key stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector and the media attended a briefing session in Nairobi on 19 September 2007 organised by the NEPAD Secretariat in collaboration with the NEPAD Secretariat Kenya and GTZ South Africa, the German technical cooperation agency.
The presentation was part of the strategy of the NEPAD communications and outreach programme and the overall programme of interacting with countries on the state of implementation of NEPAD at country level.
The NEPAD delegation was led by Dr. Hesphina Rukato, Deputy CEO, NEPAD Secretariat and included John Rocha, consultant to the NEPAD Secretariat on capacity development and Stephen Nkabyo, Project Management System (PMS) content manager.
During his opening address, Kenya’s Planning and National Development Minister, Henry Obwocha, said that while delayed funding by development partners continued to frustrate the implementation of NEPAD programmmes, Kenya had fulfilled most of its mandates to NEPAD, including the completion of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
The Minister expressed the need for countries on the continent to work towards the goals set by NEPAD in order for the people to enjoy the benefits.
Mozambique’s Ambassador to Kenya, Marcos Geraldo Namashulua, called for the mobilisation of funds through the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund.
The Ambassador also said that other African countries needed to follow the example of Kenya, Ghana, Rwanda, Algeria and South Africa in completing their African Peer Review Mechanism reviews. To date, just over 50% of the African Union countries have acceded to the APRM.
Policy framework for development In reporting “significant progress since 2001” Dr. Hespina Rukato said the NEPAD philosophy and priorities have encouraged individual countries to expedite political and economic reforms and be more assertive in championing good governance.
Among the main points in her address, she said :
NEPAD has become the policy framework for socio-economic development of the continent.
Its sectoral programmes including the Short-Term Action Plan for Infrastructure development, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the African Peer Review Mechanism, the NEPAD Health Strategy, the Centres of Excellence for promoting Science and Technology and the NEPAD Environment Strategy are being championed by African Heads of State and Government, African Ministers , Secretariats of the RECs and by regional development finance institutions especially the African Development Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
The NEPAD philosophy and priorities have encouraged individual countries to expedite political and economic reforms and to be more assertive in championing good governance and anticorruption initiatives. Promoting the private sector has become central to the economic agendas of most countries. The challenge is how to convert this sentiment into concrete investments.
Internationally NEPAD has become the framework for supporting Africa’s development. For example, the Commission for Africa report calls for increased financing of NEPAD programmes virtually in all sectors including regional integration, capacity building, agriculture, science and technology, health, environment and infrastructure.
Infrastructure The African Development Bank (ADB) has been taking a lead in the implementation of the NEPAD Short Term Action Plan STAP). The STAP formed the foundation for a coherent and structured approach to the development of a regional infrastructure.
The ADB is now leading the process of developing and implementing the Medium to Long Term Strategic Framework (MLTSF) for infrastructure development on the continent.
The MLTSF will form the basis for a coherent strategic framework for defining, implementing and monitoring infrastructure development on the continent as well as establishing partnerships that can best promote economic integration and support the development of trade on the continent.
On the financing of physical projects, and as part of the implementation of STAP, a significant number of regional infrastructure projects have been successfully brought to financial closure and have entered the implementation stage. The African Development Bank has contributed significantly to this success.
Other development partners such as the World Bank, the European Union, France, BADEA and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) have also financed STAP projects.
Domestic resource mobilisation In November 2004, the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee Summit in Algeria made a decision to explore the use of Government Managed Pension Funds for the implementation of NEPAD infrastructure projects.
This decision was based on the desire of the NEPAD leadership to show ownership of the NEPAD agenda by reducing over-reliance of NEPAD implementation on “donor” resources. The decision was also premised on the need to ensure that the pace of implementation of Africa’s development agenda would not be set by those who “control” resources.
A team was subsequently set up to put into place a mechanism whereby African countries would contribute to an African Fund for infrastructure. Three years later, at the 9th Summit of the Africa Union in Accra, Ghana, the Pan Africa Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) was launched. It focuses on investments in energy ; telecommunications ; transport ; and water and sanitation.
Contributors to the fund include African governments, private sector and banks. The challenge now is to ensure that the fund is made known to countries, and that countries have the requisite capacity to access these available resources.
What should be noted though is the fact that the establishment of the fund has clearly demonstrated that where there is a will, there is a way. What has been done in the case of infrastructure can provide fundamental lessons for what is possible in other sectors of development, including the social sector.
Engagement with the international community Africa is not an Island ;
Africa is to be a major global political, economic, and social player ;
Africa still needs to negotiate with the international community for fairer trade measures ;
Africa still has to negotiate further on debt cancellation ;
Africa has to forge a partnership with the international community, which still has a major hold on many of our national and regional systems.
The Infrastructure Consortium for Africa has an established secretariat hosted by the African Development Bank and it is reported that the consortium has secured funding for 10 regional projects worth US$ 700 million and 34 country projects worth US$ 1.8 billion.
The Africa Progress Panel, chaired by Kofi Annan was launched in May 2007. Its main purpose is to maintain the global spotlight on Africa. It is proposed that the panel will produce an annual report, which will be submitted to the G8, UN and Africa Partnership Forum.
One of the most significant deliverables of NEPAD has been the successful advocacy by African leaders on debt cancellation for 14 African countries.
Capacity building The NEPAD Secretariat is in the process of developing a Capacity Development Strategic Framework (CDSF), which seeks to address the challenges of capacity building on the continent. In this process, the NEPAD Secretariat has partnered with institutions such as the UNECA, UNDP, and the ACBF. The German government, through GTZ South Africa, has also played a big role as a partner in this process.
The NEPAD Secretariat has engaged countries like Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda, which have already been reviewed through the Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), and which have produced their Plans Of Action (POA). The capacity development programme, particularly in Ghana, has used the POA as a starting point of engagement and the process has thus far been very successful.
From the very beginning African Heads of State have shown their commitment to accelerating political, social and economic reform in line with the African Union vision and the NEPAD plan and are delivering remarkable progress in many areas, including opening up to peer reviews and delivering peace in what have been intractable conflicts. However, there are actual and perceived weaknesses which need addressing, and whose speed and reach need to be increased in order to intensify impact.
Parts of Dr Rukato’s address on infrastructure were extracted from the interview given by Dr Ini Urua, which is published below. Source : NEPAD, 21 septembre 2007