A workshop on capacity building in Africa held in Johannesburg, South Africa, between November 21-23, focused on the following main themes: a) Strengthening Capacities for National Agriculture and Rural Development in Africa, b) Capacity Challenges for Delivering Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), c) Capacity Building for Regional Economic Communities, d) AfDB Experience in Capacity Building in Infrastructure, and e) Strengthening the Delivery of Health Services in Africa.
The workshop was organized by the NEPAD Secretariat, African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the South African Trust (SAT) with the support of the Bank Group. The objective of the workshop was to review best practices and challenges in capacity building (CB) in the continent, determine the collective approaches to capacity building at national, regional and continental level including fostering partnerships among African countries, define key elements of Africa’s CB strategy and the level of political leadership required for its implementation in the short, medium, and long term horizons.., The workshop also sought to complement and detail the capacity requirements in the continent for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa which had been addressed during the 2005 ADB Annual Meeting held in Abuja-Nigeria, May 17, 2005.
It was attended by over 50 participants from a cross-section of development institutions, civil society, and the African media. Participants included officials of UNDP, APRM, DBSA, AMREF, ACBF, Foreign Embassies in Pretoria, RECs, UNECA, and Republic of South Africa government ministries. Prof. Firmino Mucavela, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NEPAD Secretariat welcomed participants, followed by a keynote address delivered by the South Africa’s Minister of Public Service, Mrs. Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi.
The workshop served as a platform for a framework for developing capacity in Africa. Participants made recommendations to be implemented in the short, medium and long term.
In the short term, within the next 12 months, they recommended that: :
- NEPAD Secretariat should arrange a meeting on best practices and encourage Africans in the Diaspora to come home and help in the development effort,
- An African capacity building strategy should be developed by AU/NEPAD and other development agencies on the continent,
- AfDB and ACBF should strengthen databanks of consultants and create a network of African experts in the Diaspora and within Africa with the aim of utilizing more African consultants,
- Status of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in capacity issues should be examined in order to render support where necessary,
- Countries should start having capacity assessments to identify critical capacity needs at grassroots level for delivery on MDGs, and
- Countries should engage rural leaders and local representatives in future CB discussions and identify projects that are ready for implementation.
In the medium term, the following were recommended:
- Internal resources should be mobilized at country, regional and continental levels.
- African Centres of Excellence should be developed.
- The sensitization and mobilization of the public to think and operate in Afro-centric terms.
In the long term, the workshop recommended that there should be a total reorientation of self and leadership toward development starting with the utilization of Afro-centric thinking in defining and implementing development initiatives. Within this framework, Africans should own, plan and execute CB projects themselves. In addition, the African Diaspora should continue to play a significant role in the development of capacity in Africa. This would be enhanced through continued facilitation by governments.
In her closing remarks, the keynote speaker, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, emphasized that "the capacity of the public sector is fundamentally influenced by capacity considerations in society."…She reminded participants that there is a need to define clearly the objectives of an activity/programme in order to simultaneously address the challenges of capacity building. "Capacity building," the Honorable Minister continued, "is a political issue to enable Africa become a role player in globalization." As Chairperson of the African Conference of Ministers of Public Service, Honorable Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi promised to commit her colleagues and the APRM to follow through with recommendations from the workshop.
The AfDB presentation made by the staff of the NEPAD, Regional Integration and Trade Department focused on the Bank’s role in the development of capacities toward the implementation of infrastructure projects. The presentation covered the general issues of capacity building in Africa including the effects of HIV/AIDS, the need to have highly trained civil servants to implement the NEPAD programme; and the flight of human capital to the developed world. It also addressed the improvement of the macroeconomic environment in Regional Member Country (RMC) and the use of the market forces to attract and retain trained Africans in the Diaspora. Specific projects in specific Regional Member Countries (RMCs) highlighted successes and challenges in the Bank’s attempt to help build capacities.
There is a need for the Bank to intensify its work with NEPAD Secretariat and AU Commission to develop the ideas from the workshop into a workable framework for addressing capacity constraints of the RECs.
NEPAD, Regional Integration and Trade Department Tel +216 71 10 35 28