Since the launch of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as the framework for the continent’s economic and social development strategy, there has been an increase in momentum on the implementation of various NEPAD projects. In that vein, the NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) hosted an Ambassador and Executive Dinner on the 3 November 2008 to discuss the integration of NEPAD into the Africa Union structures, as well as provide an update on the developments of the NBF over the past 18 months.
Dr Reuel Khoza, Chairman of the NBF adds “The NBF hosted this event to provide members and partners with the opportunity to be informed about NEPAD developments and to catalyse incisive deliberations on how to sustain the momentum generated by NEPAD since its inception”.
The HSGIC (Heads of State, Government and Implementation Committee) and AU (African Union) agreed on the Maputo decision in 2003 and the 13th point conclusion of Algiers, and decided that this decision must be used as the basis of the integration of NEPAD into the African union structures and processes. It is envisioned that the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Authority will continue to be located in South Africa, and will build upon the current work that the Secretariat has initiated.
“The process of integrating NEPAD into the AU structures and processes will ensure that there is a permanent vehicle established that will drive the planning and coordination of NEPAD programmes across the continent” says Mr Gengezi Mgidlana, Advisor to the CEO, NEPAD Secretariat.
The dinner also highlighted the significant progress that NEPAD has made over the past few months. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has over the period from 2002-2007, financed regional infrastructure projects together with their respective development partners to the value of U$4.3 billion representing approximately 53% of the original total estimated cost of the NEPAD Short-Term Action Plan (STAP) on infrastructure development in Africa.
Further projects that have made considerable progress over the past few years are the Mozambique-South Africa Gas Pipeline (completed) and the Morocco-Algeria-Spain eElectricity inter-connector (nearing completion). A total of U$45 million has been set aside for the funding of research and feasibility studies for 60 projects planned in 2008-2009.
Khoza added, “These projects consist of 66% of projects residing within the energy sector, 33% from the transport sector, 7% from the water sector and 3% from the ICT sector.”
Countries across Africa have benefited and responded well to the NEPAD initiatives through the restoration of peace in various African countries, improvement of macro-economic policies, the development of continuous dialogue among African countries and there has also been increased interest from countries such as China and India to invest in Africa.
Various suggestions were discussed and deliberated on by attendees during the course of the evening that will assist in making the NEPAD vision a reality. Some of the outcomes include the following : NEPAD should communicate more success stories, there should be a shift away from individual countries to a focus specifically on African regional projects, there should be a distinct link between NEPAD and the private sector, there should be more transparency between government and business, NEPAD must identify viable projects that are able to be implemented, NEPAD should ensure that their role and responsibilities are clearly defined and that NEPAD’s progress should be mentioned at various other related events.
Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu, Chairman of Pan African Capital Holdings and former South African representative for NEPAD concluded, “With the implementation of this new structure, the NBF will continue to facilitate engagement and implementation of NEPAD programmes both in South Africa and Africa. Despite the fact that I have left NEPAD, I will remain passionate about NEPAD and its cause for ensuring that the international community establishes confidence in Africa as an investment destination of choice.”