Harare, 20 February 2018: The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the African Union Commission (AUC) today formalized the Cooperation Agreement between the two pan-African institutions that establishes the ACBF as the continent’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Building.
African heads of state and government decided at the 28th Assembly of the African Union held at the end of January 2017 to grant the ACBF the status of a Specialized Agency of the AU in recognition of the Foundation’s invaluable support over the last 27 years to capacity development at country, regional, and continental levels in Africa.
Today’s colourful signing ceremony held at the ACBF headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe, saw the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, and the Executive Secretary of the ACBF, Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie, formally put pen to paper to bring to fruition the decision taken by the African Union Assembly (AU/Dec.621 (XXVIII) in January 2017.
Prof Nnadozie expressed ACBF’s delight at the signing of the Agreement, emphasizing that it marked an important milestone in the strategic partnership between the two institutions as it provided the framework within which ACBF would operate going forward as the AU’s Specialized Agency.
“The instrument we just signed today,” the head of ACBF explained, “will provide a platform for joint resource mobilization to finance a better coordinated capacity development effort across the continent, for the successful implementation of Agenda 2063.
“ACBF is delighted that this Agreement consolidates further its membership of Africa’s institutional architecture. The Foundation is further comforted in its determination to continue to build human and institutional capacity for the emergence of [the ACBF’s vision of] ‘Africa Capable of Achieving Its Own Development’, which is a strong pillar towards achieving [the AU vision of] ‘The Africa We Want’,” Prof Nnadozie added.
Today’s signing ceremony, the Executive Secretary said, was a “further consolidation of the already excellent partnership between the African Union and ACBF which prefigures numerous future successes in Africa’s development process.”
ACBF’s partnership with the AUC dates back to 1992, just a year after the birth of ACBF in February 1991, and 10 years before the Organization of African Unity (OAU) metamorphosed into the African Union in 2002. Since then the two organizations have engaged in extensive collaboration on capacity development in support of Africa’s development process.
Over the past few years, the partnership has seen ACBF supporting the AUC to the tune of US$20 million to build critical human and institutional capacity at the AUC and AU Organs, articulate the capacity requirements for achieving the objectives of Agenda 2063, support Africa’s engagement with the rest of the world, and monitor the implementation of AU Resolutions and Decisions.
Replying, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat congratulated the ACBF for the confidence the African Union Assembly has reposed in the Foundation by granting it the Specialized Agency status, and said it showed that the Foundation had come of age after 27 years in existence and was playing a pivotal role in the development of Africa.
The AUC Chairperson asked the Foundation to use its expertise and its newfound status to help the continent to resolve the overlapping nature of many African organizations and institutions who are doing the same things, saying overlapping responsibilities do not help the progress of the continent.
He praised ACBF for the work it does on capacity building, pointing out that the continent now needs more engineers and scientists as it implements Agenda 2063.
H.E Moussa Mahamat faulted the existing educational norm on the continent where 90% of graduates are in humanities and arts. “Which is not a bad thing,” he said, “but we cannot develop a continent like Africa without engineers and scientists. I know some colleges in Africa that have not a single maths teacher. Yet, training our youth in science and technology must be at the centre of the African agenda if we are to achieve the vision of The Africa We Want.”
Turning to how African organizations and institutions are funded, the AUC chairperson regretted that both the AU and ACBF are financed mostly by outside partners. “This situation cannot continue, especially if we are to realize our vision and move forward with Agenda 2063,” he said, adding: “Today Africa has the capacity to fund what it needs, not to rely on others 50 years after independence.”
Praising the funding reforms that are currently underway at the AU (where Africa is going to pay for AU programs instead of relying on outside partners), H.E. Mousa Mahamat urged African institutions like ACBF to take the same steps towards self-financing which will help them to choose the partners they want to work with.
He asked ACBF to help in the evaluation of what has already been done on the continent as “we need progress in research and evaluation of what we are doing so that we can be more effective”.
He continued: “From time to time, we have to stop and make an evaluation. Sixty years after the creation of the first continental organization [the OAU], we are aware of the great number of decisions we have taken in many areas. ACBF can help in articulating the value of evaluation. This is an important challenge.”
Concluding, the AUC chairperson thanked ACBF for the good work it has done in the past 27 years, saying “we know you can do better, and we [the AUC] can do better.”
For more information, please contact:
The African Capacity Building Foundation
+263-4 304663, 304622, 332002, 332014; Ext. 273
ABOUT the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), is the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development.
Having spearheaded and robustly coordinated capacity development programs worth over 700 million US dollars across 45 countries and 8 regional economic communities (RECs) in Africa since 1991, ACBF has gathered the requisite experience that makes it the go-to institution for expert knowledge and human resources to advise and support African countries, regional economic communities and institutions on decisive steps to take to develop the practical skills urgently required for the continent’s economic transformation.
Evidence from our cutting-edge work (constituting hundreds of knowledge publications) and the work of several partners show that Africa's development efforts are being hobbled by severe capacity deficits often in the form of shortage of critical skills, deficits in leadership, inhibiting mindsets and weak institutions. The continent’s practical skills shortage is acute in key areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Agriculture.
At ACBF, we will continue using our unmatched track record in managing financial facilities for development, our vast knowledge gathering experience thanks to the exceptional skills mix of our core staff as well as our strong strategic partnerships and networks to help countries and institutions identify their capacity needs, advise them on how to plug these capacity weaknesses and on where to find the knowledge and resources to develop the requisite capacity resources, effectively use them and retain them to achieve their short and long-term development objectives.
ACBF’s vision is an Africa capable of achieving its own development.
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