Nigeria says it is set to re-launch active reintegration of the ideals of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) into its national development agenda in line with the original dreams of the founding fathers of the concept.
Towards implementation of a new National Programme of Action, Special Adviser to the President on NEPAD, Ambassador Fidelia Njeze, met with NEPAD coordinators in the 36 States of the federation and Federal Capital Territory and focal point officers in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) where she unveiled the focus of the new programme.
At the meeting held in Abuja on Monday, she stressed why Nigeria must continue to play a leadership role in the actualization of NEPAD objectives.
NEPAD, an economic development programme of the African Union, was adopted at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia, to provide an overarching vision and policy framework for accelerating economic co-operation and integration among African countries.
Mrs Njeze, who until recently was Nigeria’s Ambassador to Switzerland, expressed regret that NEPAD “dwindled into a state of oblivion” in Nigeria to the extent that an average citizen was asking whether NEPAD still existed.
“If after over a decade, questions are still being asked and doubts expressed about the role of NEPAD in Nigeria, it means that its relevance is being whittled down, which should not be the case when non-NEPAD initiating member countries who contribute less are benefitting so much from NEPAD programmes,” she said.
The poor implementation of NEPAD programmes in Nigeria was due to total disconnect from the continental process.
Mrs Njese said to this end, a think tank was constituted upon her assumption of office, which worked assiduously with a technical support team from NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) in South Africa to develop a six-point strategy for repositioning NEPAD Nigeria for effectiveness.
The aim is to re-engage the country office and sensitize Nigerians on NEPAD activities.
She recalled that a meeting to address some of the challenges hindering the implementation of NEPAD across Africa was held last month in Kenya.
“Delegates from African countries, regional economic communities, international development partners and civil society organizations agreed on the overriding need to strengthen consultation, coordination and coherence among key implementers of NEPAD as a means of delivering on the key objectives of NEPAD units’ second decade of existence.
Njeze noted that delegates at the meeting agreed to a five point commitment that would accelerate the implementation of NEPAD.
Some of the resolutions centred on the need to deepen and broaden African ownership of NEPAD through greater awareness creation at all levels and institutionalization of a multi-level policy alignment to enhance coordination, consultation and coherence.
The rest are support the development of capacities of focal points to coordinate NEPAD programmes at national and regional levels; promote Multi-stakeholders buy-in and support for NEPAD focal point platform to re-convene on a regular basis towards strengthening engagement with all stakeholders and; sensitization of newly elected members of NEPAD governance structure on their respective roles and responsibilities in the NEPAD process.
Njeze pledged to mobilize the Nigerian team to facilitate, monitor and Implement NEPAD programmes at national and state levels as well as report on the implementation at continental level.