NEPAD Secretariat and AfDB discuss closer collaboration

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A NEPAD Secretariat delegation, led by the institution's Deputy CEO, Hesphina Rukato, met, on 3 July 2008 in Tunis, with key AfDB officials to explore possibilities of strengthening relations between the Secretariat and the AfDB, which is the lead agency on the NEPAD program for infrastructure development. Among the officials they met were representatives of the following departments: NEPAD, Regional Integration and Trade, Governance, Infrastructure, Agro-industry, Private Sector, and Resource Mobilization. They also met with the Coordinator of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa, whose Secretariat is hosted by the AfDB.

The meeting discussed staffing support for the NEPAD Secretariat, especially recruitment to the Spatial Development Programme (SDP) -- one of the programs adopted by NEPAD; the status of the medium to long-term strategic framework (MLTSF); resource mobilization; implementation of the NEPAD database on trade; the need to update the Africa action plan; agriculture, market access and private sector development; communication and information.

Speaking during the opening session, the newly appointed director of the NEPAD, Regional Integration and Trade department (ONRI), Mr. Philibert Afrika, reiterated the Bank’s determination to support NEPAD. "The ADB is here to support NEPAD", he said.

He welcomed dialogue as an innovative way of engaging with the NEPAD Secretariat and called for a comprehensive assessment of the needs of the Secretariat so the Bank could respond adequately.

Department representatives made short presentations on their activities related to the Africa Action Plan, the delivery of NEPAD initiatives and Bank-financed projects, including ongoing initiatives on climate change, on fertilizer financing in some member countries, and actions to introduce renewable energy and to fight deforestation.

They also described strategic meetings held with the NEPAD Business Foundation to identify and engage credible companies toward greater investment in markets.

The meeting emphasized the need to reinforce collaboration between the Bank and the Secretariat, highlighted the role of the NEPAD Secretariat as facilitator and coordinator of programs at the political level and acknowledged the need for greater cooperation between the NEPAD Secretariat, the African Union and the AfDB.

Dr. Rukato reaffirmed that the Secretariat would coordinate efforts with partners in ensuring that policies and agreements made on resource mobilization and other advocacy areas are implemented.

Both parties also agreed to request the UN Economic Commission for Africa, the AfDB and NEPAD Secretariat to thoroughly review the Africa Action Plan and make it more realistic before it is presented at the Africa Partnership Forum meeting in October 2008.

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