Nigeria to send teachers to Africa on technical aid
THE NIGERIAN government will soon send teachers to a few African countries as part of efforts under its foreign policy on technical aid, to help with the educational standard of the countries.
Acting Director General of the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), Mr. Shuaibu Suleiman, disclosed this in Abuja at the weekend while answering questions from journalists at the end of a monitoring and evaluation capacity building workshop the agency held for its staff.
According to him, this matter is presently on the table and would be dispensed with as soon as some grants agreements are signed on the sponsorship of some Liberian students to the African University of Science and Technology (AUST), in Abuja.
The sponsorship of the Liberian students, according to Shaibu, is just one of the numerous programmes and projects Nigeria is implementing under the $25 million Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) instituted in 2004 by the Nigerian government and domiciled with the African Development Bank (ADB).
The Acting Director General was asked if Nigeria, through the DTCA is able to respond to a recent call for Nigerian teachers by the Tanzanian government. In his response, Shuaibu stated that it is not only Tanzania that wants Nigerian teachers but some other countries as well.
“About three months ago, the Liberian ambassador came to DTCA and we discussed a number of issues. He raised the issue on teachers, which is being processed right now. They also want their students to come to the African University of Science and Technology. These two issues are on our table. What is causing the little delay is signing the grants agreements. Once that is cleared, these issues will be attended to very speedily”, he assured.
Speaking on the challenges the Directorate is facing, Shuaibu stated that though Nigeria would not want to be too sentimental and emotional about the issue of its leadership in Africa, it deserves to be acknowledged more. According to him, while some acknowledge Nigeria’s leadership role, others do not.
“Some of the countries we’ve assisted need to reciprocate and acknowledge what Nigeria is doing. Of course, there are a number of them that have come out to make statements to thank Nigeria for the assistance given to them. The Liberian government did that, so also the ambassador of Sierra Leone but we believe we should be more recognized by others. The Fund is for building capacity, solidarity and brotherhood among African countries and we expect cooperation because without cooperation, there won’t be solidarity, and development sustainably across the continent”, he said.
He added, however, that despite this gap the country would continue to discharge its leadership duties. “Whether you like it or not, even in the midst of our challenges, a number of African nations are looking up to Nigeria. That is why if there is any challenge in Nigeria, a number a heads of states in Africa will tell Nigeria to do whatever it can to resolve it because they cannot afford Nigeria’s disintegration or it being crippled by challenges”.
“The fact that you are a leader, sometimes you have to live with the burden because there are expectations and people are looking up to you to give leadership. Our population is scattered all over Africa. We have Nigerians out there and we have to also show leadership”, he said.
Speaking on some of the projects being implemented by the DTCA across Africa, Shuaibu stated that the Directorate is interested in projects that cut across sectors and that will bring about integration among the African people. According to him, 24 of such projects have been completed while 45 are on-going. He called for a shorter period for the approval of projects, disbursement of funds for the projects; and implementation period for the projects.
“We are more interested in projects that cut across borders that can facilitate integration. We have a project sponsoring some students from all across African; they are at Africa University of Science and Technology. We also gave sponsorship to eight students from eight African countries on a programme at University of Port Harcourt”.
He explained that in the past, the period between application and the actual disbursement of funds for the projects take up to one year. This period, he said, can be shortened to three months.
“It is not good if a project is approved and it takes three years to get the funds. Inflation would have eaten up the funds. There is one of such we did in Liberia. Unfortunately, it couldn’t take off because of some challenges there. It took three to four years, so by the time they were ready to revisit it, it didn’t make sense anymore. We know we can shorten the period. Also, we will like to shorten the time of implementation. Some consultants take a longer period unnecessarily. We have had to cancel about four projects like that because they were taking much longer than necessary”, he said.