By Peter Onwubuariri
ADDIS ABABA – Nigeria will provide two million dollars to support reconstruction and development in African countries emerging from conflicts, Dr Nurudeen Mohammed, the Minister of State 11, Foreign Affairs, said.
Mohammed made the announcement on Saturday in Addis Ababa at the inaugural Africa Solidarity Conference (ASF) aimed at mobilising support from within Africa for countries emerging from conflicts.
The minister reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to support such countries in capacity building and manpower assistance through its Technical Aids Corps (TAC) scheme.
“Today the scheme is present in more than 50 countries, coordinating the activities of thousands of volunteers in teaching, medicine, law, engineering and research.
“The UN is presently in talks with Nigeria to adopt the scheme as a model for post conflict reconstruction.
“Nigeria hereby offers the TAC platform to AU for partnership in manpower development for post conflict countries,’’ he said.
The minister urged post-conflict African countries to take advantage of the Nigeria Technical Cooperation Fund with the African Development Bank (AfDB).
He pledged Nigeria’s continued commitment to conflict prevention in the region and added that presently Nigeria was contributing 50 per cent of the troops in the ECOWAS mission in Guinea Bissau.
“In Mali we have committed more than 50 million dollars to the stability of that country in addition to the lives of two young Nigerian pilots who died while on a reconnaissance mission.’’
Algeria pledged a donation of one million dollars at the conference while Gambia announced a donation of 50,000 dollars.
Rwanda and Botswana pledged capacity in support of the initiative, promoted by South Africa.
In her remarks, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the AU Commission chairperson, said the initiative had laid the ground for a paradigm shift from dependence on foreign assistance to African self-reliance.
“It is also a unique opportunity for generating additional “out of the box’’ ideas for addressing challenges and promoting intra-African solutions to the many complex issues facing countries recovering from conflict.’’
Dlamini-Zuma appealed to member states of AU to make concrete commitment, saying “no pledging offer should be considered too small.’’
Also speaking, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa commended the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) for organising the conference.
He also thanked the teams that conducted a study that offered an understanding into the priority needs of countries emerging from conflicts.
Zuma noted that the initiative provided an opportunity for African states to renew commitment to sustainable peace, security and development.
“This initiative allows us to manage our affairs independently and it is only when we have a sense of ownership that we can address our challenges as a continent,’’ he said.
Representative of post-conflict countries, including Liberia, CAR, Sudan, South Sudan, Cote D’ Ivoire, Mali shared their immediate needs to the conference.
In their presentations, they listed key priority areas of need to include infrastructure, education, economic reconstruction, health and security sector reform. (NAN)