Question: Please take us through the journey that the led to the creation of the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD.
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki: The African Union Assembly of July 2018 approved the establishment of AUDA-NEPAD as the technical executive agency and development anchor of the continent with its distinct legal identity and defined by its own statute, to deliver on the development priorities articulated by the African Union. Its establishment is part of the overall institutional reforms of the African Union.
At the 31stOrdinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government in Nouakchott, Mauritania, a decision was officially adopted to transform the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency into the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).
The vision of AUDA-NEPAD is to ‘Harness knowledge to deliver the Africa we want.’ The mission of the organisation is to provide a platform for African countries in order to ensure the effective and integrated planning, coordination and implementation of programmes and projects aimed economic integration and development, and embracing of AUDA-NEPAD’s principles and values.
Q:Since your coming to the helm of NEPAD as CEO in 2009, how has the organisation grown?
Dr Mayaki: When I joined the organisation as CEO in 2009, it was at a time when NEPAD, as a Secretariat, was being integrated into the African Union, following the 2003 AU decision taken in Maputo. Let me go back a bit more in the organisation’s history and add that it was in 2001 in Lusaka, where the adoption of NEPAD as a flagship programme of the African Union took place. NEPAD was adopted as a home-grown African initiative to address Africa’s main development challenges.
Following the African Union reforms for increased efficiency, come 2019, AUDA-NEPAD has now been created as a development agency, having grown in leaps in bounds, in terms of impact on the continent, with a footprint in 53 of the 55 continent’s countries, through varying degrees and programmatic work.
The role therefore, of AUDA-NEPAD, is to gather the necessary knowledge that can inform policy design, to move at regional and national level and make sure that our strategies of integration are well-implemented.
Let me add that the fact that the name ‘NEPAD’ has been maintained in the name of the agency, (that is ‘AUDA-NEPAD’), is affirmation of the commitment and support by African Union Member States and stakeholders, for the African Union Development Agency, with its own mandate, to build on the gains made by NEPAD.
The new AUDA-NEPAD mandate gives the organisation a wider role in terms of providing knowledge-based advisory support to African Union Member States with regards to development strategies and capacity development, to support them in driving their development.
Q: What exactly is the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD going to do?
Dr Mayaki: Our knowledge-based advisory support to countries will be carried out through the coordination and execution of priority regional and continental projects. This is in order to promote real integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063, which will help to strengthen capacity and bring about sustained transformation.
Regarding implementation, the Agency will work within the framework of Agenda 2063 and the broader global Sustainable Development Goals. We will focus on packaging knowledge and delivering results at country level through National Development Plans.
Our focus areas are: Knowledge Management; Human Capital & Institutions’ Development; Technology, Innovation and Digitalisation; Industrialisation; Environmental Sustainability, and; Economic Integration. Emphasis is on integrated planning that will take a multisectorial approach, working with African Union Member States, Regional Economic Communities and development partners.
In closing, I would like to add that the birth of AUDA-NEPAD, as the driver for Agenda 2063, has come at the right time, as the continent needs to accelerate its growth, which can only be sustained through economic regional integration, built on an ‘original’ African owned and led pathway for ‘the Africa we want.’