Let me start by thanking President Sall for the invitation to this meeting, and for his leadership of the Orientation Committee. Allow me to offer a few thoughts to this discussion.

First, I would like to thank NEPAD for the tremendous work that continues to be done, particularly in supporting agriculture and infrastructure and technologies for our countries. NEPAD has also been forward-looking, in terms of early reflection, on how to reposition itself within the African Union, even before the current reform agenda. This should be commended, especially because the ongoing reform envisions NEPAD as the development arm of the African Union, which is a key priority.

What this means is that the role of this organization will be even more significant. Secondly, NEPAD is ultimately about the development of our continent, about delivering, as best as we can, to African citizens. This is something to keep in mind as the various options on how to move forward, are discussed and adopted. An independent assessment of the work and impact of the organization, carried out with a view to reinforce and make it even more effective, would be useful and should be seriously considered.

Finally, the personal involvement and commitment, of Heads of State and Government, reflects the importance they give to delivering results. It is also central to the high-level advocacy required at many levels, both on the continent and globally, and for maintaining momentum towards the set goals.

This is why it is critical to work out an appropriate way to share this responsibility, while reflecting the diversity of our continent. I thank you once again President Macky Sall for the opportunity to contribute to this crucial discussion, and look forward to working together for a stronger, more effective organisation at the service of all Africans.

I thank you very much.