The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is set to consolidate collaboration with African countries and regional economic communities this year, in order to build on the achievements recorded in 2011, Chief Executive Officer Ibrahim Mayaki said.
In a statement made available to PANA here Thursday, Dr. Mayaki said, during the steering committee meeting of the NEPAD Agency in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that to achieve the goal, the Agency would renew and actively engage in dialogue with NEPAD national offices and focal points in various African countries.
“Ten countries registered annual growth rate in agriculture of at least 6 percent in the second half of 2011, 8 countries had reached and surpassed the 10 percent budgetary allocation target, while 9 were in the 5 percent – 10 percent range,” the NEPAD CEO said.
The agency has in the last years helped African countries to improve the agricultural sector through the work of its AU-NEPAD Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Dr. Mayaki said great strides were also made in other areas, including gender, climate change, integration and infrastructure and capacity development, adding that the performance outlook for 2012 is bright.
As the policy-making body of NEPAD Agency, the steering committee, at the two-day meeting, considered the agenda for the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee meeting taking place in Addis Ababa on 28 January, 2012. This will be followed by the 18th AU Summit from 29-30 January 2012.
The NEPAD Steering Committee is currently co-chaired by Ethiopia and Equatorial Guinea. It comprises representatives of the 20 African leaders who are members of the NEPAD Orientation Committee, regional economic commissions, the African Development Bank and other UN agencies.
Also speaking at the meeting, a senior adviser to Ethiopian’s Prime Minister, Newai Gebread, said African countries must set very high economic growth targets for themselves in order to get out of poverty.
“It is very important that we set our targets as high as possible. Africa’s growth rate should be in double digits, above the five or seven percent annual growth it is currently recording,” he said.
To ensure such a robust expansion, according to Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, a director at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA ) in Addis Ababa, Africa would require a strong and visionary leadership.
Prof. Nnadozie, who is Director in charge of the Commission’s Economic Development and NEPAD Division, said the growth required must be sustainable, be able to create jobs for African youths and preserve the environment.
He also praised the Ethiopian government for ensuring an annual growth rate of more than 10 percent, saying: “It is good news for Africa.”