NEPAD boss plays down President Wade's criticism

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- The Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Secretariat, Firmino Mucavele, Friday played down Senegalese President's characterisation of the programme as a failure, saying he (Wade) remained a part of the NEPAD despite the criticism.
"The most important thing is that President Wade is with us and we are moving on together," Mucavele told journalists in Accra, ahead of the 7th summit NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee, scheduled Saturday on the sidelines of the 1-3 July African Union Summit in Accra.
"We accept his evaluation.
He is a member of the NEPAD Steering Committee," Mucavele added.
President Wade's criticism reflects the opinion in certain quarters concerning the programme, which was designed to launch the socio- economic renewal of Africa.
But the NEPAD CEO said the programme had succeeded in putting the issue of good governance on the front burner through the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), which enables African leaders to access the performance of their colleagues and offer suggestions on the way forward.
He said 26 member countries of the AU had willingly signed on to the APRM programme, while six had been reviewed so far.
Mucavele also said NEPAD had made it possible for select African leaders to discuss with G8 leaders on issues of interest to the continent, adding that such meetings were not possible before the advent of NEPAD.
He said NEPAD had been creating a favourable investment climate and facilitating 'development corridors' across Africa, adding: "NEPAD is moving.
What we have is the opinion of just one member out of 53 members.
" Earlier, the former CEO of NEPAD, Wiseman Nkuhlu, said NEPAD had now moved to the implementation stage, with the conclusion of the first stage which included the formulation of the vision and the development of detailed intervention programmes, which started in 2003.
He said identified programmes and projects would be implemented at the national and the Regional Economic Communities levels.
Nkuhlu said NEPAD had prioritised such areas as science and technology, agriculture and the development of infrastructure, areas, which he said, had not received the desired attention over the years.
As part of efforts to ensure the implementation of NEPAD key programmes, he said the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) would be on Saturday launched in Accra.
While acknowledging that NEPAD had not moved fast enough in realising its objectives, the chairperson of PAIDF said: "The challenge for all of us is to maintain the momentum.
" "Africa (with its population and natural resources) has got a great potential to make it big this century," he added.

29 june 2007 20:04:00

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