Africa: Experts Urge NEPAD to Engage Society, Grassroots Political Representation for Accelerated Implementation
Addis Ababa – The Expert Group Meeting that opened here Wednesday ended today with a call on the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency to accelerate the engagement of the private sector, civil society and grassroots political representation to enhance the implementation of the regional programme.
A draft report concluding the deliberations highlighted the need for the New Partnership for Africa’s Development to be more inclusive, noting that “so far, important sectors such as the private sector, civil society and grassroots political representation such as parliamentarians – though very vital actors in the development process – are not sufficiently engaged in NEPAD processes”, according to the Information and Communication Service of ECA.
Addressing participants at the closing session, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, Director of the Economic Development and NEPAD Division of the ECA praised them for “the high quality proposals which will definitely take NEPAD some steps ahead in its assigned mission”, he said.
He said he was impressed by the quality of the proposals and varied inputs especially as they emerged from “a sincere multilateral dialogue”.
The Director praised the Regional Economic Communities for their massive attendance which, by all accounts, is proof of a renewed interest not only in regional integration but also in the strengthening capacity across the continent.
“I am energized by the kind of feedback we have had from the Regional Economic Communities,” he said, adding that the meeting was unique because all beneficiaries of development came together for a candid exchange.
The main thrust of the Addis Ababa gathering was to review the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s report on the implementation of NEPAD and the Ten-Year Capacity Building Programme for the African Union.
The issue of a better coordination of the various development actors was brought under discussion with the observation that linkages between the various Regional Economic Communities in the continent and NEPAD remain weak, whereas they are supposed to be one of the main implementers of NEPAD.
The Experts’ Meeting suggested that in order to ensure sustainability, NEPAD should be built around “institutions” and not on “individuals”.
As a way of getting the private sector on board NEPAD’s projects, its operational arm which is the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency was urged to engage national chambers of commerce in order to formalize links with the private sector.
The Experts Group Meeting also recognized the central role of NEPAD in Africa’s development, but suggested that wherever best practices exist, they should be copied. For instance, it was observed that NEPAD is generally stronger in countries that are represented at the Heads of State and Government Coordinating Committee than in the other countries.
Another issue identified for urgent action has to do with capacity strengthening, but the experts agreed that capacity building and capacity building requirements for the implementation of NEPAD would need to be clearly defined.
To better monitor and evaluate progress accomplished, they agreed on the need for a united and comprehensive framework that assigns roles and responsibilities for the various stakeholders, including the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency to national level focal points with specified time frames and resources.
Representatives came from the following organisations: African Union Commission, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, ECA, National Development Agency, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, African Research and Resource Forum, African Business Roundtable, East African Community, Sub-Regional Office of Eastern Africa, Sub-Regional Office of Southern Africa, Kenya NEPAD Secretariat, Southern African Development Community, Economic Community of West African States, Kenya Institution of Management, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizens’ Participation, and UN Agencies.