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SOUTH AFRICAN DIPLOMATS BRIEFED ON NEPAD

BuaNews
04 June 2007


South Africa

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A group of 24 South African diplomats paid a visit to the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Secretariat last week, to discuss the implementation progress of NEPAD programmes.

The diplomats were also briefed on the rate of implementation of NEPAD’s priority sectors and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

The group was received by NEPAD Deputy Chief Executive, Ambassador Olukorede Willoughby, NEPAD General Manager for Communications and Outreach, Thaninga Shope-Linney, NEPAD Advisor on Nutrition, Bibi Giyose and NEPAD Advisor Gender, CSOs and Parliamentary Affairs, Litha Musyimi Ogana.

In his opening address, Ambassador Willoughby stressed the importance of the diplomats playing their role as true Ambassadors of Africa, by always ensuring that they kept themselves informed on the progress of development initiatives on the African continent.

On the integration of NEPAD into the structures and processes of the African Union, the diplomats were briefed on the conclusions and recommendations of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee and brainstorming meetings on NEPAD.

These meetings concluded that the process would take approximately 12 months and that the current NEPAD Secretariat would become a NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Authority, which will be hosted in South Africa.

Its roles and responsibilities will be determined by a Coordinating Unit which will be set up to streamline NEPAD activities and processes with those of the African Union.

During the briefing, the NEPAD Secretariat officials stressed that contrary to some sceptical views, NEPAD has achieved much since its inception in 2001.

The steady economic growth of the African continent, which averaged 5 percent, is a direct indication of progress as NEPAD plans are steadily being integrated into country plans, the diplomats were told.

“NEPAD continues to be the African development policy framework which is greatly supported by the international community. Proof of this is that Africa continues to be on the agenda of the G8 Summit, which ensures that African development issues are discussed at these Summits,” said the Secretariat.

The other major achievement of NEPAD in the past almost six years, is the energising of African development stakeholders and institutions.

These include the African Development Bank (AfDB), as well as international development agencies such as the World Bank group, European Union Commission, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Effective communication and advocacy has assisted in maintaining focus on positive developments in Africa.

Through the NEPAD leaders, every opportunity has been seized to showcase progress in conflict resolution and the advancement of democracy through successful multiparty elections in an increasing number of countries.

The adoption, launch and successful implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) continues to play a major role in changing perceptions about governance in Africa, because it represents the strongest evidence of the resolve of NEPAD architects to advance democracy, human rights and good governance.

Progress being made with the review process further enhances the credibility and sustainability of the renewal process initiated by NEPAD.

To date, 26 countries have acceded to the APRM and three have already completed the review process and are implementing the Plans of Action that have emanated from the process.

South Africa and Algeria will be the next countries to be reviewed and will be presenting their country reports at the African Union Summit to be held in Accra, Ghana in July 2007.

The other important achievement that is not well appreciated, said the NEPAD Secretariat, is the reversal in the decline of development assistance flows to Africa.

During the 1990s, Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Africa was on the decline.

A turnaround started only a few years ago but remained tentative until the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in June 2005, which also strongly addressed the debt relief challenge of Africa.

NEPAD believes that more progress will be achieved after the G8 Summit now in progress in Germany.

These are the most significant achievements of NEPAD since 2001 which were shared with the diplomats. In line with the NEPAD vision, the achievements represent a paradigm shift.

They are about approaching development differently - by emphasising African ownership and responsibility and shifting leadership of the preparation of development programmes from multilateral institutions to African stakeholders and institutions.

They are also about transforming the relationship with the developed countries. – BuaNews

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