Steering committee member defends NEPAD

Banjul- The Gambia (PANA) -- A member of the NEPAD (New Partnership fpr Africa's Development) Steering Committee, Isaac Aluko-Olokun, has said the programme is "alive and kicking" despite a growing criticism of its effectiveness.
Aluko-Olokun told PANA in Banjul, the Gambia, on Sunday that the criticism of the programme stemmed from a lack of understanding of its purpose.
"NEPAD is not an implementing agency.
It is to facilitate and create the environment for investors to look at," he said.
"The executors (of NEPAD policies) are the Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and the ministries of AU member states,” added Aluko-Olokun, who is also the Special Assistant to the Nigerian President on NEPAD.
Shedding more light on NEPAD, he described the programme, launched to fast-track Africa's socio-economic development, as a "concept and a philosophy".
"It is a collection of the aspirations of Africans as expressed by their leaders to claim the 21st century, with self-reliance as one of its themes,” Aluko-Olokun explained.
"It is also about value re-orientation, which is a key area of the programme that enjoins us to re-order our values, fight corruption and show concerns for one another,” the NEPAD official noted.
Among the harshest critics of NEPAD is one of its founding fathers, Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who has tagged it a failure on many occasions.
But the Steering Committee official said NEPAD had achieved some success, especially in the areas of debt relief and in fostering good governance through the African Peer Review Mechanism.
"The APRM is the flagship of NEPAD, and it is an expression of African leaders to address the problems of bad governance," he said.
Aluko-Olokun said three nations - Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda - had been peer reviewed under the mechanism, which provides a platform for African nations to receive assistance in areas in which they are seen to be weak.
He disclosed that 25 countries had so far signed on to the mechanism, with South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria and Malawi next in line to be peer reviewed.

02 july 2006 13:52:00

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