President Paul Kagame says the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which was created in 2001, has remained true to its cause and continues to advance the continent’s development agenda, nearly 20 years since it was created.
The Head of State made the remarks on Thursday during a symposium to mark 20 years since it was created by the African Union (AU). The virtual event was attended by different African leaders and former heads of state who played a role in its creation
“This year, we mark twenty years since the re-foundation of our African continental institutions. In May 2001, the African Union was founded to replace the Organisation of African Unity. A few months later, in July 2001, NEPAD was created,”
“NEPAD’s mission was to eradicate poverty and integrate Africa into the global economy, with a focus on good governance. We pay tribute today to the distinguished leaders who spearheaded the establishment of NEPAD, from Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, and South Africa,” President Kagame said.
President Kagame said that following the creation of the continental body, many other leaders rallied to the NEPAD cause in the following years, making the institution remain true to its vision.
“NEPAD’s values are part and parcel of the reform spirit we have seen in the African Union over the past several years, with good results,”
“It is therefore no accident that NEPAD officially became the African Union Development Agency in 2018. NEPAD’s track record makes it the ideal institution to help lead implementation of Agenda 2063 on behalf of the African Union,” President Kagame said.
He thanked the partners who have supported NEPAD over the last two decades, both in Africa and beyond and called on Member States to continue supporting the multiple partnerships that AUDA-NEPAD has developed.
Following the AU reforms, NEPAD was reshaped to the African Union Development Agency-AUDA-NEPAD, and President Kagame has been the chair since February last year.
President Kagame emphasised the importance of the AUDA-NEPAD’s agreement with the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, as a key driver of continental integration and trade, calling on countries to honour their commitments.
“Honouring our statutory commitments as Member States is not only our duty, it is good value for money. Doing so also facilitates resource mobilisation more broadly,” President Kagame said, thanking the NEPAD CEO, Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, for his able leadership of the institution.
“Dr Ibrahim Mayaki has led NEPAD with integrity and commitment for more than a decade. I wish to close by thanking him for his extraordinary service to our organisation, and to our continent,” he observed.
In his remarks, the African Union Chairperson and President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, said at the NEPAD@20 Symposium, emphasised the impact of the New Coronavirus on the continent, asking attendees to observe a moment of silence for the people the continent has lost to the pandemic.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on African economies, on public health and indeed on the AU system itself. It has cost many lives and threatens many more. It has also served as a stark reminder of our global interconnectedness,”
“What impacts one, impacts all. It is therefore more critical than ever that we step up our collaboration on all fronts as we drive the global recovery effort,” the AU Chairperson said.
President Ramaphosa said that recovery efforts are particularly even more important as the countries of the world undertake the massive task of procuring, distributing and providing vaccines to their people.
“We will continue to work through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility – known as COVAX – to ensure equal access to the vaccine, and that the needs of poor countries are taken into account,”
“At the same time, we will pursue our efforts through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to complement the COVAX arrangements and to secure enough vaccine doses for our continent,” President Ramaphosa said.
As the continent continues the battle to contain and eradicate COVID-19, he said that at the same time there is a need to renew the focus on meeting the continent’s developmental aspirations.
“Strengthening the work of the African Union Development Agency – or AUDA-NEPAD – is more important than ever,”
“I want to commend Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki for his excellent leadership of the Agency and for the service he has rendered towards the socio-economic upliftment of our Continent,” he said.
He paid tribute to African heads of state who were behind the creation of NEPAD, including former Presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal.
The leaders were behind the creation of the pan African institution in 2001, as a flagship to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable growth and development, integrate Africa into the world economy and accelerate the empowerment of women.
“Together with their fellow African leaders, they developed NEPAD as a new vision and programme of action for sustainable socio-economic development,”
“This aimed to enhance the capacity of African States and regional institutions to fulfil the collective vision of an integrated, peaceful, united and prosperous Africa,”
“Over its 20 years, NEPAD has promoted programmes in areas such as agriculture, health, education and training, the environment, information and communication technology and infrastructure development,” the AU Chair said.
He said NEPAD inspired the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative and prioritised the development of regional infrastructure in sectors such transport, energy, ICT and transboundary water.
He said significant progress has also been made in the implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, which has the potential to facilitate continental integration in support of the AfCFTA.
“An impressive accomplishment of NEPAD has been the strengthening of partnerships with the rest of the world,”
“NEPAD has engaged the G20, G8, OECD, FOCAC, TICAD and the UN system on a new development cooperation and aid architecture for Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa further said that NEPAD has been steadfast on the principle of an Africa-led and Africa-owned development agenda.
“The transformation of NEPAD into the African Union Development Agency is an opportune time to reflect on the implementation of the NEPAD agenda,”
“We need to strategically position the Agency to be even more responsive to the continent’s development aspirations,” he said, adding that, pointing out that the institution will lead African continent to harnessing the benefits of new sciences, technologies and innovation and also has to ensure that historical inequalities and inequities, including gender disparities, are addressed.
The virtual session was attended by Dr Abdelaziz Djerad, the Prime Minister of Algeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, the former President of Nigeria, the former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, former President of Liberia, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina and the AU Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Prof Victor Harison, among others.