This annual report is the tenth-anniversary issue on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). It is therefore of considerable significance. What sets 2011 apart is that it represents both a milestone and a turning point. It is a milestone because it marks the first decade in the launch and implementation of NEPAD as a continental socio-economic development programme. The year is equally a turning point, as it provided the first full year in the operation of the NEPAD Agency, since its transformation in February 2010 from NEPAD Secretariat to NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency with a clearly defined mandate. The thus year took institutional development and programme performance to new heights.
There were three major aspects to the context in which the NEPAD Agency operated in 2011. These consisted of the Agency’s institutional context, the global development environment and the African continental setting. The institutional context saw continued progress in the integration of NEPAD into the structures, systems and processes of the African Union; the planning of an improvement of the Agency’s office space, which has increasingly become inadequate for its operations; the presentation of a proposal to the African Union on a new organisational structure for the Agency; as well as the strengthening of operational systems, processes and procedures in programme and project development and management, financial management and accounting, human resources management and administrative services. These developments contributed immeasurably to improved performance and a greater sense of stability in the Agency’s operations.
With respect to the global development context, for much of the year it was characterised by weak economic growth, continuing daunting debt challenges and financial turbulence in the advanced economies. This is against sustained expansion in much of Asia, driven by China, and strong growth performances in African economies. The African continent had to content itself with minimal growth in development assistance and challenges in meeting pledges and commitments in aid. The international environment also posed some challenges for the mobilisation of resources for the Agency’s new programmes.
The African continental setting provided the NEPAD Agency with a propitious environment for its operation, as it was buoyed by strong growth, continuing improvement in political governance, heightened ownership of NEPAD interventions, an encouraging progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and an expression of greater consciousness of the need for sustainable development. This supportive continental context however, had to contend with continuing challenges arising from the following: infrastructural deficiencies; poverty and inequality; inadequately-resourced educational systems, in need of reforms in order to deliver skills and knowledge that are readily usable; less than optimal enrolment and completion rates in secondary and tertiary education; an alarming growth in youth unemployment; persisting unacceptable gender gaps in access to education, health and employment; restrictive labour market conditions and cultural barriers to women’s participation in development; paucity of gender-disaggregated data and weak gender-budgeting frameworks; high percentage of Africans living in water-deprived areas and many more facing health-threatening sanitation conditions; food insecurity in spite of progress in reducing extreme hunger; and challenges in meeting environmental sustainability commitments.
All these call for the need and resources for the Agency to substantially scale up its resources. They also indicate the need for greater investment in strengthening progress realised in the quality of development policies and the governance environment. These needs constituted some of the key priorities of NPCA operations in 2011. In order to raise the level of effectiveness of its response, the Agency needed substantially more resources to address the identified challenges and an organisational structure that is responsive to its operational requirements.
Despite the resource constraints, NEPAD Agency’s operations in 2011 were a great success compared to previous years. We had achievement rates of more than 75% in the execution and disbursement/budgetary performance of planned programmes and projects, as well as programme support activities. Activities undertaken pointed to concrete development results, which significantly advanced the goal of the AU-NEPAD agenda and contributed to the achievement of some of the MDGs. The programme activities during the year were carried out in the Agency’s six thematic clusters, or priority areas, and were guided by its business plan for the period 2010-2014. Some of the major achievements included:
Agriculture and Food Security: The number of African countries, which developed and signed national compacts under the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) rose from 23 to 30. The CAADP compacts were among the most successful instruments in the raising of resources among development partners, in support of Africa’s agriculture. Under the Partnership for African Fisheries Programme, the Agency supported the coordination of fisheries reforms in various countries, as a means to maximise the contribution of the fisheries sector to sustainable growth and poverty eradication. It collaborated with the African Union Commission (AUC) to take forward the implementation of the National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans. To this end, it launched the development of the Agribusiness and Market Access Programme with the goal of supporting African countries and Regional Economic Communities with appropriate policy interventions. Acting as the secretariat of TerrAfrica, NEPAD Agency provided technical backstopping to countries in the process of finalising investment frameworks for sustainable land and water management. In the meantime the SLM Capacity building project with Regional Economic Communities (RECs) is on-going, and funding has been secured for the development of a continental agriculture climate change programme. During the year, the Agency made efforts to promote food and nutrition security through partnerships development, consultative meetings, organising Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day, mainstreaming nutrition in national agricultural investment plans, and promoting school feeding programmes. It contributed to the creation of the African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) with the support of the AUC. The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa committed $25 million to AFAP for the first three years with additional funds pledged by other development partners.
Regional Integration and Infrastructure: NEPAD Agency contributed to launching the implementation of the seven regional projects endorsed by the 16th African Union Assembly, under the AU-NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative. These include: working to strengthen Africa’s broadband communications infrastructure, within the context of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa; enhancing an information and communications technology (ICT) enabling environment through the Kigali Protocol; making efforts to secure the African Internet Domain Names (‘DotAfrica’ and ‘DotAfrique’) for the use of the continent; continuing with a vigorous implementation of the e-Schools programme; pursuing the establishment of Community Informatics Networks; and, with partner institutions, designing a framework for harmonising and coordinating regional and continental ICT programmes and projects. In partnership with the Government of Kenya, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Agency launched the process of supporting the newly-independent South Sudan in strategic planning, infrastructure development, agricultural investments and public sector capacity development under the South Sudan Development Initiative. It made progress in the development of Africa’s Bio-energy programme, which will address strategic policy issues and priorities for a sustainable bio-energy industry in Africa.
Human Development: As part of its human development programmes for the year, the Agency established a Multi-Donor Trust Fund for the implementation of the African Medicines Regulatory Harmonisation (AMRH) initiative. The number of participating African countries in the Africa Science and Technology Innovation Indicators Initiative (ASTII) grew from 19 to 28 during the year. In the area of Science and Technology, the Agency launched the African Innovation Outlook Series and the Second Phase of ASTII in May 2011, with a commitment to upscale the African Observatory on Science, Technology and Innovations. In cooperation with the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Nurses and Midwives Education Programme was undertaken in Chad, Gabon and the Republic of Congo as pilot countries.
Capacity Development: The Agency developed and launched the Africa Platform for Development Effectiveness; successfully facilitated the emergence of a common African position for the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness held in Busan, South Korea; and developed African best-practice case studies on development effectiveness, to improve capacity development for south-south cooperation. In partnership with the World Bank Institute and UNDP, the NEPAD Agency began an RECs knowledge exchange programme to strengthen institutional capacity through mutual learning.
Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Programme: During the year, the Agency began processing applications for the second phase of the NEPAD-Spanish Fund for African Women Empowerment. This will involve the disbursement of €10 million to national and sub-regional organisations as well as for the effective take-off of the Business Incubation for African Women Empowerment project in the COMESA and ECOWAS regions.
Partnerships, Resource Mobilisation and Communication: Africa’s strategic partnership with the G8 gained an impetus during the year with the G8-Africa Partnership Summit held in Deauville in May 2011. The Agency renewed partnership engagements with key partners in support of the NEPAD agenda and concluded a number of memoranda of understanding. It launched the development of a continent-wide framework, designed to strengthen communication and outreach towards stepping up the visibility of NEPAD. It also provided technical backstopping for the 17th Africa Partnership Forum, the business roundtable on accelerating reforms to spur infrastructure investment in Africa, and a follow-up to the G20 Summit in Cannes.
Strategy, Policy and Knowledge Management: During the year, the NEPAD Agency undertook a knowledge management needs audit to provide orientation to the development of a strategy for its knowledge management system. It developed an M&E policy to guide the evaluation of programme performance. In order to learn lessons and identify performance improvement opportunities, the Agency in collaboration with UNDP, UNECA and the African Development Bank launched a review of the first decade of NEPAD implementation.
African Biosciences Initiative: The NEPAD Agency Biosciences Initiative supported the training of more than 23 Doctoral and Master’s level scientists; upgraded infrastructure through the establishment of a bioinformatics centre at the University of Mauritius and an indigenous knowledge centre at North West University in South Africa; and undertook regional research initiatives, most resulting in the publication of scholarly papers and some givinge rise to product development.
The year 2011 was not without challenges and constraints. Inadequate financial resources presented a continuing daunting challenge to effective operation and capped the scope and scale of programmes that could be undertaken. By the end of the year, less than 30% of the Agency’s budget was supported by financial resources from the AU and voluntary contributions by AU member states. NEPAD as a programme of the African Union needs enhanced visibility, political commitment and strong ownership at the level of the countries. More remains needs to be done in these areas. While a great deal was achieved in harmonising programmes and strengthening the working relationship between the African Union Commission and NEPAD Agency in a number of thematic areas, this needs to be further enhanced in order to foster synergy across programmes. Externally, the challenge arising from the Euro-Zone financial crisis had negative effects on the Agency’s resource mobilisation efforts and, by extension, the effective implementation of some of NEPAD programmes. By the end of the year, the Agency was still without a formal organisational structure. While this remained a constraint to effective operation, staff continued to give their level best in a somewhat fluid and less motivating institutional setting.
The year brought along considerable opportunities for the operations of the Agency, notwithstanding the challenges and constraints. The robust growth that the African continent experienced, the modest but encouraging financial support of AU member states to the Agency and the launch of the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative are indications of the potential for raising significant amounts of funding internally, for the implementation of NEPAD programmes and the operations of the Agency. It was equally encouraging, in spite of the challenges facing the industrialised economies, that most of Africa’s development partners made significant efforts to meet pledged resources to the continent and the Agency. NEPAD Agency was much encouraged by these positive developments.
It is also worth mentioning the remarkable role played by the Agency in the following areas: facilitating Africa’s consensus at the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which will be followed up in 2012; the forthcoming UN conference on sustainable development (Rio+20); the growing improvement in the political governance environment on the continent; and the emergence of South Sudan. These are among developments which offer opportunities for the Agency to move the implementation of the NEPAD agenda robustly forward in the years ahead.
Lastly, it is most gratifying to note that the first decade of the implementation of the AU-NEPAD programme has yielded an invaluable learning experience for the NEPAD Agency. The transformation of the NEPAD Secretariat into an Agency and an AU think tank is recognition of the need to develop institutional capacity to work closely with the African Union Commission to implement the continent's development agenda in an effective manner. The Agency is rapidly maturing and is today poised to make a success of the next decade in implementing the NEPAD agenda further. With improved capacity, enhanced funding and vigorous support by all development stakeholders, the NEPAD Agency will deliver sustainable development results to all Africans. The Agency expresses its deep gratitude to the AU-NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee for its unwavering commitment, guidance and encouragement. We acknowledge with appreciation the support received from the AUC and partner institutions and call on the continent's stakeholders and Africa's development partners for continued assistance for a sustained and successful implementation of the NEPAD agenda.