The African Union Developing Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) is the development agency of the African Union (AU), coordinating and executing priority regional and continental development projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063 – Africa’s vision and action plan. It is mandated to strengthen the capacity of the AU Member States and regional bodies The establishment of AUDA-NEPAD is part of the global reforms geared at improving the African Union’s impact and operational efficiency.

The mandate of AUDA-NEPAD is to: a) Coordinate and Execute priority regional and continental projects to promote regional integration towards the accelerated realisation of Agenda 2063; and b) Strengthen capacity of African Union Member States and regional bodies, advance knowledge-based advisory support, undertake the full range of resource mobilisation and serve as the continent’s technical interface with all Africa’s development stakeholders and development partners.

During the 39th session of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee (HSGOC) held on February 2, 2022, Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Chairperson of the NEPAD and Chairman of HSGOC remarked that AUDA-NEPAD will continue to be at the forefront of Africa’s development path in the light of challenges posed by COVID-19. Speaking on the impact of AUDA-NEPAD on the continent, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission remarked: “There is now much greater capacity for achieving integration with the ability to adapt by the Agency and its improved delivery of results, despite the COVID-19 pandemic challenges of the past two years”.

AUDA-NEPAD faced a multitude of challenges in the year 2021 due to the COVID crisis which brought economic hardships as well as social disruption. AUDA-NEPAD dealt with the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 at the community level, nationally and regionally, to preserve lives and secure livelihoods. It responded to the effects of the COVID pandemic in three priority areas: Health Systems, Food Systems and Economic Growth and Jobs. These responses are highlighted in the 2021 Annual Report of AUDA NEPAD.

AUDA-NEPAD’s integrated package of interventions in the health sector aims to improve access to quality, safe and efficacious medicines by providing an enabling regulatory environment for the pharmaceutical sector in Africa, At the continental level, AUDA-NEPAD pushed for the accelerated establishment of the Africa Medicines Agency (AMA), which entered into force on 5 November 2021. Among others, AMA enhanced the capacity of countries to regulate medical products and ensure access to safe and efficacious medication for Africa’s people. Under its health portfolio, AUDA-NEPAD devised several signature projects to strengthen national health systems and pandemic resilience. AUDA-NEPAD established the Pandemic Resilience Accelerator for African health-related businesses. This initiative aims to accelerate African home-grown solutions that improve pandemic resilience. AUDA-NEPAD supported the Revital Healthcare Manufacturer to strengthen healthcare capacity and local supply chains. Over 40 medical devices were produced to distribute in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi. Under a unique Public-Private Partnership, AUDA-NEPAD partnered with Vodacom-Mezzanine to build a state-of-the-art vaccine management platform across all AU member states through the AUDA-NEPAD Centre of Excellence on Science, Technology and Innovation. AUDA-NEPAD also worked directly with the Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) to provide field support using its network and coordinate medical personnel training.

As regards Food Systems, AUDA-NEPAD prioritised agricultural transformation and food and nutrition security as essential factors in promoting rural transformation and empowerment of rural economies. In 2021, ten countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan) were given technical and financial support to implement country nutrition action plans under the Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa (IFNA). The Agency further provided technical support to 46 AU Member States to hold national dialogues and facilitated – together with the African Group of Negotiators – Africa’s Common Position on Food Systems during the UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). Moreover, AUDA-NEPAD continued to promote Agricultural Technical Vocational Education and Training (ATVET) in 12 AU member states to transform agriculture and promote employability through skills development. AUDA-NEPAD also provided 18 AU Member States technical assistance to strengthen national biosafety and biosecurity capacities under the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE).
Concerning the priority area of Economic Growth and jobs, AUDA-NEPAD continued to foster the implementation of ongoing projects under the Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA). AUDA-NEPAD also trained more than 18,000 MSMEs from 33 countries on business and entrepreneurship skills and financing. Furthermore, a financing scheme in eight pilot countries has been operationalised to strengthen occupational prospects for young people in Africa.

By Dr. Ankit Srivastava

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