Africa: ‘Africa Is No Longer an Aid Dependent Continent’

By Hassan Gbassay Koroma

As a 16-man medical delegation from the Nigeria Technical Aid Corps (TAC) arrived in Sierra Leone to render assistance to, and boost the health sector, the Nigeria High Commissioner to Sierra Leone has stated that Africa's most populous country strongly believes that the continent was no longer aid dependent.

Her Excellency Mrs. Gladys Modupe Quist-Abebiyi made this statement last Thursday at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation conference hall at Youyi Building in Freetown, while welcoming the delegation, which comprised 6 medical doctors and 10 nurses who would be deployed in various hospitals across the country.

"As one of its kind volunteer service scheme currently operated by an African country, TAC Nigeria strongly believes that Africa is no longer an aid dependant continent. I therefore wish to express our appreciation to the Chief Executive Officer of TAC and his team for always putting their best foot forward with regards the management of TAC programme," said the experienced diplomat.

She said the TAC scheme was established in 1987, adding that it was conceptualised and operationalised not only to provide manpower assistance to recipient nations, but to also demonstrate Nigeria's commitment to rapid and sustainable socio-economic development in beneficiary countries.

She said since its inception, over 500 volunteers have served in Sierra Leone in various capacities, thus contributing to the development of the country.

Mrs. Quist-Abebiyi said TAC was objectively programmed to give assistance to receiving African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, based on assessed and professed needs of the recipient countries.

She said as a foreign policy tool, the scheme promotes cooperation and understanding between Nigeria and beneficiary nations, thereby facilitating meaningful contacts between the youths of Nigeria and those of the recipient countries.

She continued that the strength of the TAC scheme and its success was predicated on the fact that it was people-oriented and centred on technical assistance programme that was tailored to engineer development of recipient countries.

The Nigeria High Commissioner to Sierra Leone said the implementation of the scheme has endeared Nigeria to many countries as a facilitator of effective cooperation in socio-economic development, adding that the scheme was a catalyst for peace, progress and development among beneficiary countries.

She said the 2016-2018 TAC biennium was programmed to encompass 1,500 professionals in the field of engineering, agriculture, medicine, laboratory, technology, sport management, law, architecture, radiology, accountancy, insurance, metrology, lecturing, coaching and artisanship.

Welcoming the medical delegation, Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah said the programme was not new in Sierra Leone and that it was only interrupted by the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone in 2014.

He said the Government of Sierra Leone was very much happy that the programme has resumed and promised the delegation that they would do all that is required for them to enjoy a conducive working environment during their two years stay in the country.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brima Kargbo welcomed the delegation and thanked the Nigeria High Commissioner for her country's support to Sierra Leone, adding that Nigeria was the first country to deploy a medical team to support the health sector in the post-Ebola era.

Source:EMM

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