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President Cyril Ramaphosa says the COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on African economies, on public health and on the AU system itself.

“It is therefore more critical than ever that we step up our collaboration on all fronts as we drive the global recovery effort,” President Ramaphosa said.

In his welcome address delivered virtually at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) 20th Symposium on Thursday, President Ramaphosa said the African Union will continue to work through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility known as COVAX to ensure equal access to the vaccine, and that the needs of poor countries are taken into account.

President Ramaphosa said they will pursue efforts through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team to complement the COVAX arrangements and to secure enough vaccine doses for the continent.

“As we battle to contain and eradicate COVID-19, we at the same time have to renew our focus on meeting our developmental aspirations as a continent.

Strengthening the work of AUDA-NEPAD

“Strengthening the work of the African Union Development Agency – or AUDA-NEPAD – is more important than ever,” President Ramaphosa said.

With regard to the African Union Development Agency or AUDA-NEPAD, President Ramaphosa commended Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki for his excellent leadership of the Agency and for the service he has rendered towards the socio-economic upliftment of the continent.

He also paid tribute to Presidents Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Thabo Mbeki, Hosni Mubarak, Olusegun Obasanjo and Abdoulaye Wade.

“In 2001, they created this pan African institution as a flagship to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable growth and development, integrate Africa into the world economy and accelerate the empowerment of women.

“Together with their fellow African leaders, they developed NEPAD as a new vision and programme of action for sustainable socio-economic development.

“This aimed to enhance the capacity of African States and regional institutions to fulfil the collective vision of an integrated, peaceful, united and prosperous Africa,” President Ramaphosa said.

President Ramaphosa said over its 20 years, NEPAD has promoted programmes in areas such as agriculture, health, education and training, the environment, information and communication technology and infrastructure development.

“It has inspired the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative and prioritised the development of regional infrastructure in sectors such transport, energy, ICT and transboundary water.

“Significant progress has also been made in the implementation of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa, which has the potential to facilitate continental integration in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area,” he said.

President Ramaphosa said an impressive accomplishment of NEPAD has been the strengthening of partnerships with the rest of the world.

NEPAD agenda

He said the transformation of NEPAD into the African Union Development Agency is an opportune time to reflect on the implementation of the NEPAD agenda.

Established in 2001 as the flagship socio-economic programme of the African Union, NEPAD’s primary objectives were to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable growth and development, integrate Africa into the world economy and accelerate the empowerment of women. 

The NEPAD 20th Symposium brings together current and former African Union Heads of State and Government, representatives of all spheres of the African and International development community to reflect on the successes, achievements and challenges of the past two decades and the future of the transformed African Union Development Agency-NEPAD under the theme: A Decade of Action to Achieve the Africa we Want.


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