4 February 2003
Efforts to develop Africa received a boost on Tuesday when the United Nations Development Programme injected more than R29-million into the coffers of Africa’s recovery plan, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).
The head of Nepad’s steering committee, Wiseman Nkuhlu, and UNDP representative John Ohiorhenuan, signed off the money in Midrand, near Johannesburg.
The money will be used over the next 15 months to set up a Nepad advisory panel, put together a technical support facility, and build capacity within its steering committee to enhance its work.
According to Ohiorhenuan, the aid was in recognition of the “brilliant” work done by the committee and the African leaders to popularise Nepad, which is aimed at pulling the continent out of its economic and social woes.
The plan – also endorsed by developed nations, including the G8 and European Union – seeks to open massive investment opportunities for Africa in exchange for good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law, aiming for rapid development and an annual economic growth rate of seven percent for the continent by 2015.
Nepad also aims to build capacity in African agriculture, human resources, and information and communications technology, among other sectors.
Ohiorhenuan said Nepad has the potential of turning around the continent’s developmental and economic misfortunes, as it is being taken “seriously” by the world’s nations, particularly by the African leaders who crafted it.
The plan was devised by South African President and African Union chairman Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, Algerian leader Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Senegalese president Abdoulayi Wade.