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Assessing NEPAD Achievements after 20 Years: Perspectives and Challenges

An assessment of the achievements and challenges after twenty years of the existence of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, during a working visit of the Permanent Representatives Sub-Committee (PRC) of the African Union on NEPAD on 16 and 17 November 2021.

“Twenty years on, NEPAD is still playing a key role in Africa’s development,” the Chairperson of the PRC Sub-Committee on NEPAD, H.E. Mr Salah Francis El Hamdi stated. The Chairperson went on to say that “Today, AUDA-NEPAD is institutionalised as an organ within the African Union, through which important regional and continental development programmes are coordinated.”

One of the founders of NEPAD, H.E Mr Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, shared with the PRC Sub-Committee members his experiences with NEPAD, and provided his perspectives.

“The thinking at the time of the creation of NEPAD was that the success of this programme would require buy-in from all countries for the development of the whole of Africa, with strong partnerships for the concrete plan of action. Another important requisite was the development of frameworks for key sectors. It was agreed that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development represented something new with mutual accountability from all stakeholders for the continent’s development,” H.E Mr Mbeki reflected.

H.E Mr Mbeki also advised that in moving forward, it would be prudent to go back to the processes that took place during the formation of NEPAD, as there was value in this undertaking, that leveraged on high levels of partnerships not only on the continent, but globally as well.

The PRC Sub-Committee on NEPAD traditionally undertakes a yearly field visit to the AUDA-NEPAD headquarters in Johannesburg, where up-to-date information on the status of implementation of programmes and the way forward, in terms of priorities and strategy is provided.

Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of AUDA-NEPAD emphasised that, “The PRC Sub-Committee played a key role in transforming the NEPAD Secretariat into the NEPAD Agency and into AUDA-NEPAD, under the African Union reforms led by President Paul Kagame. The past twenty years saw political support for NEPAD in implementing programmes and now, AUDA-NEPAD as the continent’s development agency, is here to serve to Africa more efficiently.”

The UN General Assembly recognises the importance of supporting Agenda 2063 and its first 10-year implementation plan (2014–2023) and acknowledges the role of NEPAD as being integral to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Mrs Nardos Bekele-Thomas, UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa, called for greater synergy between AUDA-NEPAD and the UN in integrating development plans for increased results in uplifting livelihoods across the continent. Mrs Bekele-Thomas added that “The deliverables of AUDA-NEPAD are enormous, despite the challenges in Africa which increase day by day.”

The PRC Sub-committee members also acknowledged the fact that despite numerous challenges faced on the continent, AUDA-NEPAD now has a footprint in all African Union Member States. The results achieved reveal that the Agency is efficient, agile and committed to attain Africa’s Agenda 2063. The agency’s new programme of work is now three-pronged, through its signature solutions in the following areas:

Health systems: Building capacity in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing sector. Improving access to essential health care services.Economic growth and job creation: Through interventions aimed at enhancing infrastructure development, trade and markets and productivity-enhancing innovations.

Food systems: Increasing agricultural and food productivity to ensure food and nutrition security.
The NEPAD PRC Sub-Committee, whose new members started their two-year mandate in July this year, benefitted from a thorough examination and reflection on the priority issues which will guide the elaboration of the Sub-Committee’s work plan for effective delivery on its mandate.

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