Accra, Feb. 28, GNA - The New Partnership for Africa\'s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency and NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to solidify their relationship.
The agreement marks a new chapter for them to focus on unlocking the potential for the development of Africa\'s private sector.
The MOU would enhance business potential within the continent through joint projects by accessing the resources, experience and expertise of both the NEPAD Agency and the NBF.
This was contained in a press release signed by Andrew Kanyegirire, Communications Manager, of NEPAD Agency and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD Agency, who signed on behalf of NEPAD, said NEPAD provided unique opportunities for African countries to take full control of their development agenda, to work more closely together, and to cooperate more effectively with international partners.
According to the release, both NEPAD and NBF had a vast store of experience, information and expertise in a variety of relevant fields, in collaboration with like-minded institutions and business communities.
\"This agreement seeks to improve the coordinated development of Africa\'s business environment \", it added.
The release said NBF and NEPAD Agency partnership would encourage project implementation and networking of private, public and civil society organisations to accelerate economic development in Africa.
In addition, they would promote infrastructure development and regional integration while providing input and support to the continental framework of infrastructure requirements.
While the NEPAD Agency and NBF have worked closely since the inception of the NBF in 2004, this formal understanding will focus on building the African private sector to facilitate trade, training, skills development, technology and facilitating public private partnerships (PPPs).
\"The continent has demonstrated a high need for infrastructure development to facilitate inter-African trade and to create a conducive environment for international investment\", the release noted.
According to the release, Dr. Mayaki, explained that through the NEPAD Programme, the NEPAD Agency, as the technical development Agency of the African Union, would work to improve the lives of families, communities and countries through a range of wealth creation and poverty eradication initiatives that cut across issues of health, agriculture, infrastructure, ICTs, education and other areas of intervention.
\"It is in this regard that we welcome this strengthening of partnership with the NBF through the signing of this MOU. We believe that our joint work with the NBF will help us to bring together all the organisations and partners involved in Africa\'s private sector - to help them voice their needs and to co-ordinate their work in support of the NEPAD agenda.\"
Under the agreement, both organisations have pledged to continue supporting the development of agriculture and food security in Africa to become a growth driver for the continent.
Jointly, the NEPAD Agency and the NBF will work to achieve the agriculture goals as defined by the NEPAD Comprehensive Agriculture Advancement Development Programme (CAADP) framework, where one of the key issues is to advance mechanisms to integrate smallholder farmers into the commercial value chain and provide access to markets.
\"This is an exciting opportunity, as the NBF is currently incubating an innovative project that is developing a model that takes into account the vital role of the small farmer and gaining an understanding of their challenges and constraints and then developing models to create these smallholder farmers into viable entrepreneurial businesses, \"Ms Lynette Chen, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Business Foundation said.
\"Our joint efforts are based on the consideration that the private sector in Africa can and should take ownership of the development process in Africa\", Dr. Mayaki said.
Another joint focus of both organisations will work towards the enhancement of human capacity and skills through the NEPAD Africa-wide Capacity Development Strategic Framework (CDSF) and through the NBF African Leadership Programme which concentrates on enhancing capacity and leadership potential of African top managers from the public and private sectors as well as NGOs.
On a practical level, both organisations will aim to create an enabling environment for effective public private partnerships, including the preparation of bankable investment projects and promoting Africa as an investment destination for foreign funds.