Rwanda will host 300 agricultural experts and policy makers from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) from March 29 - 31. Among them will be development partners, representatives of international organizations, the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) who will converge in Kigali city for a discussion on NEPAD's comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). CAADP, endorsed at the July 2003 Maputo Summit, is spearheaded by African Governments’, and aims to accelerate agricultural growth and eliminate poverty on the continent. The aim of CAADP Rwanda roundtable, which is jointly hosted by the Rwandan government, NEPAD and COMESA, is to reach consensus among key stakeholders on the framework, forge the necessary partnerships to implement the agricultural development agenda and secure commitments and resources from partners to make the necessary investments. Rwanda is the first to organize a round table among six phase-one countries comprising Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Zambia, which were selected by COMESA to speed up implementation of the agricultural development programmes in the region through round tables.
NEPAD’s Integration into AU
The African Union (AU) chairman, Ghanaian President John Kufuor, called on his fellow African leaders attending the Algiers summit to back the starting up of the Pan African Fund for infrastructure development. The summit was meant to brainstorm on the integration of NEPAD into the AU structure. President Kufuor said it was time concrete steps were taken to create the necessary synergy to incorporate the NEPAD into the AU's structure for maximum benefits and to avoid the danger of the two developing parallel strategic plans. The proposed fund is said to help provide seed money and counterpart funds to attract credit lines from development partners for the implementation of specific projects.
Biofuel and Renewable Energy: Key to Africa’s Energy Crisis
Biofuel and renewable energy sources may hold the key to Africa's energy crisis. Without intervention, this crisis is set to grow, among others, in Southern African cities such as Lusaka in Zambia, Harare in Zimbabwe, Gaborone in Botswana and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. "The continent is rich in renewable resources which can benefit the majority of people within a few years," said Achim Steiner, the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in an address at the ministerial meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Nairobi. TICAD was initiated by Japan in 1993 to address threats posed to the environment. Since then, the UN, the Global Coalition for Africa, the UN Development Programme and the World Bank have joined the initiative. Steiner warned that the continent is in danger of being locked into a development path that will always place it behind the rest of the world. African countries should look at their own resources for their developmental needs and strategies.
Private Sector Should Pull up Its Socks
According to the Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the private sector is not doing enough to help unemployed graduates acquire critically needed skills for South Africa's economic growth. Presenting the first progress report for the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA), Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka called upon local companies to do their bit to ensure that the JIPSA targets were met. JIPSA is an initiative led by government to identify the country's solutions to skills shortages in the critical areas of the economy in order to meet the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa's (AsgiSA) goals. AsgiSA seeks to increase the annual Gross Domestic Product growth rate to 6 percent by 2010 in order to reduce South Africa's unemployment from 30 percent to 15 percent and to halve the country's poverty levels by 2014.
Incorporating the Human Factor in Developments Strategies
Chairperson of the Harare International Festival of the Arts, Mrs. Angeline Kamba, said there is need for greater emphasis on incorporating the human factor into all facets of development and governance in Africa. Mrs Kamba, an expert on culture, said this when she officially opened the third Africa University Arts and Culture workshop in Mutare. "The human factor has previously been ignored in all developmental strategies, while development itself has been merely thought of in economic terms such as the creation and accumulation of wealth. However, there was now need for a developmental discourse which paid attention to the improvement of people's quality of life, which encompasses their culture," she said. She commended the African University for being at the forefront in advancing cultural issues on the African continent.
Accelerating Growth in Africa to Meet MDGs
African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development are to meet in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from April 2-3 to discuss how to accelerate growth on the continent to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The meeting will also deliberate on growth, employment and inequality on the continent; finance and public sector investments and, planning, monitoring and tracking economic performance. Other areas to be focused upon include peace and security and; partnerships and globalization. The panelists include the former President, Tanzania Benjamin Mkapa, and eminent economists Sir Nicholas Stern and Jeffrey D. Sachs.
Traditional Medicine to be Recognized
Traditional medicine in the Southern Africa Development Committee will be recognized in the region following the research done by the SADC Health Ministers Forum. Speaking at a press conference during the SADC health Ministers forum in Lilongwe, Malawi, chair person of senior officials of the forum who is also the principal secretary of the Ministry of Health in Lesotho, Teleko Kangombe said it is time traditional doctors were recognized since the actual medicine are made from the very same African herbs.
Uganda Set for Self Appraisal
Uganda is finally set for its self-appraisal next month in preparation of the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Government has announced. The peer review is a mechanism where African countries assess themselves and each other on issues like good governance. The tool is designed to ensure that the policies of the member states conform to the New Partnership for Africa's Development, commonly known as NEPAD. A total of 26 African countries with 652 million people are part of the peer review programme. Uganda is among the first six countries to be reviewed. Ghana, Rwanda and Kenya have completed their reviews while South Africa and Nigeria are in the process of being reviewed. The review focuses on social development, political, economic and corporate governance.
Comment on this article!