DIVISION OF COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION
PRESS RELEASE N0. 10 / 16th AU SUMMIT
Africa prioritizes infrastructure
At the 24th meeting of NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, African leaders put focus on programme delivery
29 January 2011, Addis Ababa – “The next decade provides the opportunity for better performance and results on the NEPAD agenda at the programmatic level. That will mean giving the NEPAD Agency the necessary means and resources to fully deliver”, said Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia at the start of the 24th meeting of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC).
“Now that the integration of NEPAD into the African Union (AU) structures and processes has materialised, with the establishment of the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency), a new dawn beckons to actualise the NEPAD vision,” Zenawi said.
Despite the presence of high growth rates – averaging at about 6 percent between 2004 and 2007, the decline of 2.4 percent in 2009 due to the global financial and economic crises it is now essential that the modest gains made over the past few years in development and governance are consolidated advised Zenawi.
Addressing the opening of the 24th HSGOC, Ali Bongo the Vice Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and President of Gabon reiterated the African leadership’s support towards NEPAD and called upon his colleagues to push for the NEPAD High-Level Sub-Committee on infrastructure which is chaired by President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.
In his remarks, Jean Ping, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), said 2010 was a crucial year for the AU and NEPAD – especially with the mainstreaming of NEPAD into the AU.
As a result a NEPAD coordination unit has been set-up at the AUC to improve the synergy between the NEPAD Agency and the AUC.
On the work of the NEPAD Agency, Ping said the Agency had assisted the AUC and Africa in the preparation of African positions at the global level – at the G8 and G20 engagements concerning the follow-up on global commitments to Africa.
Ibrahim Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NEPAD Agency, presented an activity report that focused on the achievements being made in the roll-out of NEPAD programmes and projects in the thematic areas of: agriculture, climate change and natural resource management, regional integration and infrastructure, human development, economic and corporate governance and the cross-cutting issues of gender, capacity development and information and communication technologies.
“However, there are some challenges that we still have to overcome in order for the Agency to deliver more fully on programme delivery, particularly around the provision of technical and financial resources for the Agency,” he added.
A key area that has been identified for delivery is infrastructure - whereby eight African countries on the HSGOC infrastructure sub-committee are working to champion regional and cross-border infrastructure projects in order to attract investments and enhance regional integration. This Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative is based on the AU NEPAD African Action Plan (AAP) and the Programme for the Infrastructural Development of Africa (PIDA).
The 24th meeting of the NEPAD HSGOC was held at the margins of the 16th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The NEPAD HSGOC works to provide strategic oversight and guidance to the work of the NEPAD Agency.
Leaders in attendance included those from South Africa, Ethiopia, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Congo, Lesotho, Sudan, and Benin. Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the African Union, Dr. Maxwell Mkwezalamba took part to the meeting.
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About the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency: The NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NEPAD Agency) as the technical body of the African Union www.africa-union.org, works closely with the African Union Commission (AUC), regional economic communities, national governments, civil society and the private sector to push for programmes and projects that focus on improving the lives of the African people. The NEPAD Agency is the leading African development expert, able to mobilise the private sector, heads of state and African people as a force for positive change, building continental prosperity and regional integration. For more information, go to: www.nepad.org