Mo Ibrahim Forum 2018 – Roundtable on Public Services in Africa

I was delighted to participate to the Mo Ibrahim Forum 2018’s roundtable on Public Services in Africa. Here is the link.

The 2018 Ibrahim Forum focused this year on public services in 21st century Africa: their key relation to good governance and effective leadership, new challenges and current shortcomings, the ways and means to strengthen them and make them appealing to the next generation.

 

Africa needs to reform public sector to ensure effective service delivery

Africa needs to reform its public service for effective service delivery to citizens, officials and experts said at a panel session on Saturday.

“We must address African public sector challenges adequately through reforms to ensure economic growth and accelerate development,” said Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agency

“The public sector is a key component of the economy, and it plays a major role in economic growth and development of any country. If Africa ignores its public sector, the continent won’t achieve its development agenda,” he said.

Dr Mayaki was speaking at a panel session of the Ibrahim Governance Weekend in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The Ibrahim Governance Weekend is the flagship event of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, held every year in a different African country.

This three-day event convenes prominent African political and business leaders, representatives from civil society, multilateral and regional institutions as well as Africa’s major international partners to debate issues of critical importance to Africa.

The weekend begins with a Leadership Ceremony, where this year the event welcomed and celebrated the 2017 Laureate, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

Dr Mayaki, who is also the former prime minister of Niger, emphasised that service delivery in Africa is still slow despite the fact that some governments have put in much effort to ensure that citizens access public goods and services.

“The whole of Africa’s public sector needs an overhaul in order to have that one that is delivering to its promise,” said Jennifer Musisi, executive director of the Kampala City Authority, Uganda.

“The mandate of the public sector is to improve the general welfare of society by delivering efficient and effective services to citizens, but this is lacking among African governments,” remarked Herman Mashaba, mayor of Johannesburg, South Africa.

“Poor management of finances, high levels of nepotism, corruption, incompetent public servants, lack of accountability, poor human resources practices, and a lack of leadership have taken toll in the Africa’s public sector,” he noted.

The three-day event held by Mo Ibrahim Foundation kicked off in Kigali, which convenes prominent African political and business leaders, representatives from civil society, multilateral and regional institutions as well as Africa’s major international partners to debate issues of critical importance to Africa, according to organisers.

Established in 2006, the non-grant making organisation focuses on defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa through its four main initiatives including Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Ibrahim Forum, Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership and Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships.

Source: Adapted from Xinhuanet.com

Why nutrition should top the pan-African agenda

As we gather in Dakar for the Initiative for Food and Nutrition in Africa (IFNA), I would like to state the utmost importance of nutrition for Africa. Without optimum nutrition there will be no engine for growth and development.

IFNA is an initiative that resonates with what I believe can be a “business unusual” for real contribution to improved nutrition in Africa. Finally the shocking statistics can start and continue to decline significantly and sustainably.

I would like to re-affirm NEPAD’s commitment to the eradication of hunger and malnutrition in all its forms, and further confirm our continued political and technical support through dedicated policy and programme instruments.

Hunger and malnutrition is one of the most urgent development challenges and most countries are burdened by more than one form of malnutrition – stunting, wasting, underweight, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight or obesity. These forms may co-exist within the same country, household or individual. Nutrition is one of the high priority areas for NEPAD and the African Union.

The joint focus by the AU and NEPAD on the nutrition agenda dates back several decades ago. At the AU, the Department of Social Affairs, the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, and the Department of Economic Affairs there remains palpable urgency to address the scourge of hunger and malnutrition. To this end, key policy and strategic instruments include the Africa Regional Nutrition Strategy (ARNS), the Pan African Nutrition Initiative (PANI), the Framework for African Food Security (FAFS under CAADP), and the Ten Year Strategy for the Reduction of Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies.

NEPAD has also since 2005, had a strategic implementation framework with flagship programmes that include for example Home Grown School Feeding, Food Fortification including Biofortification, and Maternal and Child Nutrition. Of course policy advocacy and capacity building are important cross cutting areas that NEPAD addresses in support of the core programmatic and project focus.

I am delighted to share that NEPAD this past week, kick started the process to revise and revamp its Food Systems and Nutrition Security Strategy in support of integrated regional approaches while paying particular attention to national contexts. The revised strategy will be pragmatic in terms of the ever elusive “how” to deliver effective actions in a multisectoral fashion, with coherence, speed and sustained momentum. This effort is also in recognition that the CAADP agenda which enshrines nutrition, is now since Malabo, more about agricultural transformation and strengthened food systems – which goes beyond just the National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs).

On another note, we in Africa, across all the countries here represented have excellent biodiversity, and a rich heritage to adequately feed and nourish ourselves and even the world. Our indigenous and traditional foods are amazing and valuable nutritionally. The potential is immense. However as we are constantly reminded, people do not eat potential, but rather they need real nutritious food, in real time to solve real current problems.

In many ways, I trust that IFNA will help us make a dent in changing the current dismal nutrition situation and fill the wide nutrition gap. Undeniably, we need a “people centered nutrition” where those afflicted are also active participants in seeking and delivering solutions.

Ending poverty, hunger and malnutrition must become the basis of a new social contract in which no one is left behind as per the aspirations of Agenda 2063. It is also an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

We urgently need a rethinking of our agriculture, food systems and governance for meeting current and future food and nutrition challenges in Africa.

The food systems and nutrition challenges faced by countries are complex, and their solutions require multi-pronged approaches plus a strong and sustained political leadership.

I am convinced that through IFNA this is the right moment for working harder and smarter than ever before towards important nutrition objectives.

World Malaria Day

Malaria is still a real threat to global health. Specialists say mortality related to the disease has dropped by 60% since 2000, but there is still much to be done. In 2016, 445,000 people died. 91% of those deaths occurred in Africa. I would like to share with you this series of articles from Le Monde Afrique that highlights the difficult access to treatments and resistance of mosquitoes to insecticides.

Crédit photo : Un volontaire teste le « Faso Soap », un savon anti-paludisme, le 4 novembre 2016 à Ouagadougou au Burkina Faso. CRÉDITS : NABILA EL HADAD / AFP

Official visit of H.E Mr Mbagnick Ndiaye to the NEPAD Agency

The NEPAD Agency received a delegation from the Republic of Senegal, led by H.E Mr Mbagnick Ndiaye, Minister in charge of Regional Integration, NEPAD and Francophonie.

The Minister was accompanied by H.E Mr Baye Moctar Diop, Ambassador of Senegal in Ethiopia, Mrs Gnounka Diouf, Advisor to H.E Mr Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, Mr Mamadou Diallo, the representative of H.E Mrs Safiatou Ndiaye, Ambassador of Senegal in South Africa and Mr Babacar Ba, Director for NEPAD and Global partnerships, Ministry for Regional integration, NEPAD and Francophonie.

As Senegal is currently chairing the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC), the main purpose of the visit was for the Senegalese delegation to be briefed on the activities and achievements of the NEPAD Agency, and make key recommendations to help the Agency deliver its mandate towards the transformation of Africa.

H.E Mr Ndiaye expressed appreciation for the work conducted by the NEPAD Agency under the leadership of the CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki. He assured the organisation of his country’s continued support towards the organisation’s programmes and their delivery.

Chair of the NEPAD Steering Committee, Mrs Gnounka Diouf also conveyed gratitude for the work and results that the NEPAD Agency is undertaking on the African continent, reiterating support for the organisation in its continued delivery.

In his welcoming remarks, the NEPAD Agency CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, acknowledged the continued support of Senegal to the vision of the founding fathers of NEPAD. He also highlighted the importance of making NEPAD and regional integration part and parcel of the daily lives of African citizens. He stressed the necessity for the Agency to work efficiently towards the tangible improvement of livelihoods.

During the visit, the delegation was briefed on NEPAD Agency’s results-based approach, which is aligned to its interventions through the First Ten Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063, African Union’s long-term vision and strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of the continent. The Agency’s new strategic plan (which will be implemented from 2018 to 2023), will see implementation of its programmes through the corridor approach, in order to trigger regional integration and augment economic development.

The Minister and his delegation also received a specific brief on the following NEPAD Agency interventions and programmes: Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade; Industrialisation, Science, Technology and Innovation; Natural Resources Governance and Food Security; Skills, Youth and Employment and NEPAD partnerships. The Agency’s current programmes and projects cover up to 95% of the continent.

Source: NEPAD Agency

The African Continental Free Trade Area – Another Significant Milestone Towards Africa’s Integration

As a relatively young Minister in the mid-nineteen nineties sitting within my Organisation of African Union (OAU) peers, I pondered deeply if Africa will pull itself together and forge ahead.

At that time, Rwanda was coming out of its genocide and most of West Africa was still experiencing military coups. Central Africa was somewhat calm but some countries there had subtle political tensions, with what is termed the “first Congo war” taking place in the former Zaire now Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Whilst Somali’s civil war intensified, Ethiopia in Eastern Africa commenced the developmental-state experiment under Prime-Minister Meles Zanawi and Eritrea gained independence.

Norther Africa, pretty much intact with “strong” leaders steering the affairs of state and some of whom played a prominent role in the Israel-Palestinian peace process which resulted into the creation of the Palestinian National Authority. The end of apartheid and the ushering in of a democratic South Africa was the most positive highlight during this period for the OAU as it demonstrated that the OAU; as a Continental liberation movement, had achieved its ultimate goal of politically liberating Africa.

Full article

Africa needs ‘integrated approach’ to economies

Trade is essential for Africa’s development and liberalising it is key. But is a Free Trade Area the answer? Sceptics say it’s an addition to the African Union’s flagship Agenda 2063 and that Africa has too many programmes and protocols.

The BBC’s Lerato Mbele met with Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, Chief Executive of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development), to find out if all of these programmes will add value for businesses and bring prosperity to ordinary people.  Full video here

World TB Day

It is unjust and unacceptable for 1.7 million people to die of Tuberculosis each year worldwide – a disease that is not only preventable, but can be treated and defeated. As we commemorate World TB Day on 24 March, we must reflect and begin to ask ourselves pertinent questions on how we fight TB in Africa.

Are we really winning the fight against TB? What are the lessons learnt and best practices and how can these be positively applied to energise current efforts to end TB in the world, and in Africa particularly? The answers to these symmetrical questions demand political and social commitment, both pre-requisites without which the fight to end TB will be lost. There is an urgent need to mobilise our political leaders to speak with one voice and to advocate for improved financial and human resources towards this cause, as well as hasten research and innovation to encourage scientists to find new regimens to treat TB – regimens that are cheaper, accessible and easier to use with shorter treatment timelines.

The NEPAD Agency is working towards this end by involving Parliamentarians to mobilise political support in Africa. Many African leaders have already made commitments to ending TB through the Catalytic Framework to End AIDS, TB and Eliminate Malaria in Africa by 2030. Our objective is to implement and reinforce this commitment with strategic partners.

This is a fight that requires working in unison for a common agenda. Hence, we have embraced multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approaches to combat the scourge of TB from all possible vantage points. A healthy Africa translates into a productive workforce, eventually advancing our agenda of socio-economic development.

In addition to political commitment, we have reached a stage where the civil society has to be actively involved in efforts to fight TB given the dynamics of our social structures. African social structures generally provide support to TB patients, support to affected families in times of difficulty and spread the messages of prevention, which is fundamentally as important to ending TB as is treatment.  It is time we begin to break myths and tell the unique stories of those who have defeated TB, the TB survivors. These powerful voices can no longer be underrated in behavioural change approaches, which is required to successfully address the challenges of TB mis-information in our communities.

No one should have to die from TB or lose their source of income or job because of TB. This is an injustice that we must endeavour to correct without fail. No one should be left behind in this fight against TB. NEPAD Agency is committed to the theme of this year’s World TB Day of Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free World. You can make history. End TB.

We need to find the leaders who will make history by delivering a TB-free world. These leaders exist and are ready to be engaged. Many times we tend to look beyond ourselves, but YOU and I are these leaders, we can champion the cause to end TB and bring our contribution to eliminate this scourge for good in Africa, and the world by 2030. Stand up today and be counted among the leaders, you are wanted.

March 21 – Human Rights Day in South Africa

The commemoration of Human Rights Day in South Africa is a reminder to all of us on the African continent to ensure that no one gets left behind.

As we continue to make strides towards attaining the aspirations enshrined in Agenda 2063, our continent’s vision for ‘The Africa We Want,’ we first and foremost recognise the fact that all human beings are equal. This is echoed in South Africa’s Bill of Rights that protects everyone’s right to life, equality and human dignity.

On this day, South Africans are called upon to reflect on their rights and to protect their rights. South Africans are also asked to reflect on the rights of all people in their country from violation, irrespective of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, whether they are foreign nationals or not, as human rights apply to everyone, and this application should be without prejudice or discrimination.

Africa’s Agenda 2063 defines the vision for a continent, whose development is people-driven, especially relying on the potential offered by its youth and women. It goes without saying then, that even as the African Union calls on everybody to commit to achieving the elimination of harmful cultural and traditional practices, and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes, recognising the role played especially by women and youth, and upholding their rights is key to transforming our continent.

South Africa’s history – and  in particular the happenings of 1960 in Sharpeville when a group of 10 000 people peacefully marched and protested against the pass system – reminds us that human rights at times come at a high cost.  Peace and freedom should now be enjoyed by all in the country as well as in the rest of the continent, and not taken for granted.

Let us then continue to work together in building ‘The Africa We Want’ by first protecting and cherishing the human rights of each and every African citizen!