By Ibrahim Assane Mayaki - CEO of the NEPAD Agency
A significant milestone was recorded in garnering support for the NEPAD agenda on a global scale following the re-affirmation of the United Nations (UN) system-wide support to the NEPAD Programme and its Agency. This re-affirmation came from the highest level within UN Member-States and leadership.
The UN Briefing on the "Progress in NEPAD implementation" which was organised by the UN-Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (UN-OSAA) - 11-12 October, 2010 provided the worldwide platform to engage UN Member-States.
On 12 October 2010, I had the singular honour of holding direct talks with the UN Secretary General, Ban-Ki Moon, at the UN Headquarters as part of my mission to the 65th UN General Assembly. The UN Secretary-General welcomed me warmly and demonstrated deep knowledge of NEPAD, including awareness on outcomes of NEPAD integration into AU structures and processes.
He emphasized that internationally-agreed development goals, particularly the MDGs, cannot be realized without meeting Africa’s development needs. Mr. Ban-kiMoon added that he personally attached special importance to NEPAD, which he described as a locomotive for Africa’s development.
He elaborated on the encouraging signs of progress witnessed during his field visits to African countries, and the work of the Special Steering Group on Africa‟s MDGs. He acknowledged African Leaders‟ commitment to the MDGs and expressed confidence that faster progress could be achieved in the next 5 years. The UN Chief underlined that world leaders‟ were now paying greater attention to Africa – as was evident through the success of the recently concluded UN MDGs Special Summit.
In this regard, he pointed to the increasing and visible role being accorded to Africa by the G-20 and the participation of H.E. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in the G20 process in his capacity as NEPAD HSGOC Chairperson, along with the AUC Chairperson, Mr Jean Ping.
On my part, I commended the Secretary-General for his good work and leadership of the UN, particularly on global development issues, including Climate Change, MDGs attainment, and his personal dedication to African peace and security. I expressed satisfaction with the UN‟s special attention and support for NEPAD since its inception in 2001, through UN Specialized Agencies, particularly the active collaboration with OSAA and the UN Regional Coordination Mechanism-Africa (RCM).
The rationale for establishing the NEPAD Agency by African Leaders was underscored, by highlighting the Agency‟s results-based implementation approach, programmatic coherence and complementarity, and the operating and delivery model through which the RECs serve as the epicenter.
I briefed the UN Secretary-General on specific programmatic progress being made by the NEPAD Agency on CAADP implementation, the PIDA study and the development of the RECs‟ capacities as well as Africa‟s improving good governance landscape within the context of the APRM. It was observed that the UN Comprehensive Framework for Action adopted by the High-Level task Force on Global Food Security had been inspired by CAADP.
The engagement with the UN Secretary General was preceded by the NEPAD Briefing Day on 11 October 2010, which attracted over 150 representatives of UN Member-States. This presented a global platform to reaffirm the continued progress on achieving the NEPAD vision and NEPAD Agency strategic direction.
Furthermore, the OSAA/NEPAD/OECD partnership was launched through the presentation of joint study / work on publications relating to “Economic Diversification in Africa” and Policy Briefs, under the aegis of the NEPAD-OECD Africa Investment Initiative.
The media briefing and launching were witnessed by the Under Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, Mr. Cheikh Diarra; AU Ambassador to the UN, Antonio Tete and Chair of OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), Mr. Eckhard Deutscher.
Finally, it is imperative for NEPAD Agency to build on this momentum and emerging global goodwill, evident through a strong and sound UN partnership with NEPAD in actualizing the NEPAD Agency mandate.