UNCTAD member States and other stakeholders had the opportunity to reflect on more than ten years of NEPAD's existence, its performances, challenges and the role of UNCTAD.
In his opening remarks on behalf of UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, Mr. Taffere Tesfachew, Director of the Africa, LDC and Special Programmes Division, recalled that NEPAD had been established more than ten years ago by African leaders to give new dynamism to Africa's development ambitions and the direction that African countries should take in building credible governance structures and economic transformation.
Noting that NEPAD was now a key component of the African Union's programme-implementation drive, Mr. Tesfachew pointed to UNCTAD's research work as well as collaborative activities with both NEPAD and the African Union in the areas of structural transformation and productive capacity-building on the continent which remain critical to moving towards manufacturing, value addition, job creation and science and technology innovation.
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of NEPAD
, CEO of NEPAD commenced his keynote address by reminding the meeting that the continent that was labeled by the Economist magazine as "hopeless" more than a decade ago, is now the most dynamic region in the world.
He recalled that when NEPAD was launched, Africa was emerging from two decades of structural adjustment characterized by an erosion of strategic thinking.
NEPAD's vision was to focus on regional integration based on a perspective that goes beyond the nation to the region and the continent with an accent on bottom up approaches instead of the previous top down; on better governance through its peer review mechanism; and on a more participatory role given to civil society and the private sector.
Dr. Mayaki expressed appreciation for UNCTAD's support to NEPAD and called on its further help to address the above challenges, drawing on its expertise and its extensive work on Africa.
Other panellists included, Mr. Emanuel Nnadozie, Director, Economic Development and NEPAD Division, UN Economic Commission for Africa, and Mr. Kamran Kousari, former UNCTAD Special Coordinator for Africa.
Member States raised questions and offered valuable comments in welcoming and encouraging the collaboration between UNCTAD and the NEPAD.