Photograph — CGTN Africa

Following the adoption of the Statute, Rules of Procedure and Structure of African Union Development Agency (AUDA), the AU’s implementing arm of its development strategy has been converted to a development agency.

The decision to transform the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was endorsed by the AU Executive Council at the recent 35th Ordinary Session in Niger earlier this month. With its clearly defined mandate and legal identity, AUDA-NEPAD becomes the first development agency of the AU, in line with ongoing institutional reforms at the continental body.

NEPAD’s establishment in 2001 was reportedly born out of the will to create a prosperous, interconnected and rich Africa for each of its countries and citizens. The role of NEPAD was reaffirmed in Agenda 2063 as set out by the AU in 2013. Specifically, it is responsible for implementing the continent’s major projects for regional integration, with the close involvement of the private sector. 

The transformation of the body into a development agency was one of the main initiatives submitted in 2018 to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the AU by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, NEPAD revealed in a statement. The idea was part of Kagame’s global reform designed to improve the Union’s impact and operational efficiency.

AUDA-NEPAD’s establishment was then approved as the “technical executive agency and development anchor of the continent” by the AU Assembly in Nouakchott. The agency’s distinct identity is defined by its own statute, to deliver on the development priorities articulated by the AU in its Agenda 2063.

The new AUDA-NEPAD mandate gives the organisation a wider role. The agency will be providing knowledge-based advisory support and technical assistance to the AU Member States with regards to strategies and capacity development, as well as support them in driving their development.

More so, the new body is expected to play a critical role in disseminating best practices and will support countries’ efforts in developing their capacity and leverage on regional and global partnerships.

“This transformation enshrines the role of the AUDA-NEPAD at the core of the African Union pan-African development strategies,” CEO of the AUDA-NEPAD, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki declared. “The Agency will play an important role in fostering coordination within the AU system …  act as a catalyst for Africa’s integration and play a fundamental role in the operationalisation of the AU Continental Free Trade Area.”

Overall, AUDA will continue NEPAD’s mandate of transforming Africa through enhanced knowledge sharing, partnerships, and resource mobilization, along with promoting high-impact projects that align with the AU’s overall continental development frameworks, but will also expand on this agenda, Mayaki told Devex.

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