• English
  • العربية
  • 中文
  • Français
  • Русский
  • Español

You are here

National Liaison Officers Meet to Discuss the Technical Cooperation Programme in Africa


More than 60 representatives from 43 countries in the Africa region attended the 2020 Annual Meeting of National Liaison Officers and AFRA National Coordinators. (Photo: C. Karle/IAEA)

As central actors in the design and delivery of IAEA’s technical cooperation (TC) programme, National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and AFRA National Coordinators (AFRA-NCs) meet each year with their counterparts in the Agency to review the work channelled through the hundreds of ongoing projects across the African continent. Following this year’s Annual Meeting of NLOs and AFRA-NCs, held in February 2020, the assembled counterparts identified best practices, engineered solutions to persistent challenges and collated their findings into a comprehensive plan of action for the recently-launched 2020-2021 TC Cycle, which will guide the implementation of the TC programme in Africa for the coming two years.

A total of 63 participants from 43 African countries attended the Annual Meeting of National Liaison Officers (NLOs) and AFRA National Coordinators (AFRA-NCs), held from 24 to 28 February at the IAEA’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria. This regular meeting is held to take stock of the progress made in the last year by African counterparts in their application of nuclear science and technology and to explore issues related to the effective and efficient management of the TC programme in the region. As many of the attendees were new to their positions as National Liaison Officers, the meeting also aimed to develop a common understanding of the shared responsibility to and national ownership of the TC programme.

The TC programme acts as the main conduit through which the IAEA delivers its support in the areas of human health, food agriculture, food safety, water and more. The National Liaison Officer (NLO), a national appointee, acts as the programme’s principal actor on the ground and plays a major role in facilitating technical cooperation between the IAEA and his or her country. In concert with National Liaison Assistants (NLAs) and with the national coordinators (NCs) of the AFRA Agreement, NLOs carry out two key roles: They help the Agency to understand the needs of Member States, and they help Member States to understand how the Agency, and nuclear technologies, may help meet those needs. 

NLOs and National Liaison Assistants (NLAs) from 43 African Member States attended the meeting. (Photo: C. Karle/IAEA)

In his opening statement, Dazhu Yang, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, underscored the essential role of NLOs and AFRA NCs in the implementation of the TC programme, particularly in the development of a high quality programme, the establishment of national regulatory infrastructure, the monitoring of the programme and the development of partnerships. “You are central to national ownership of the TC programme and its successes,” said Mr Yang. “Without you, the TC programme could not be carried out effectively.”

Omar Amer Youssef, Ambassador of Egypt, representing the Chair of the Vienna-based African Group, also addressed the opening session. “This meeting is as an important opportunity for enhancing our collaboration with the IAEA.” Ambassador Youssef said. “The Vienna-based African Group encourages Member States to pay in full and on time, their financial contributions, TCF target shares and obligatory National Participation Costs.”  The opening session was also attended by representatives of the IAEA Permanent Missions in Vienna.

During the plenary and breakout sessions, the participants explored how to strengthen the project design process so as to respond more directly to national development needs and enhance the ownership of the TC programme, and they identified best practices gleaned during their implementation of national projects. Together, the 63 attending participants closely reviewed the implementation of the 2018–2019 programme, and discussed how to strengthen approaches to ensure the efficient implementation of the current cycle, which was launched in January 2020 and will continue to the end of 2021.

“NLOs and AFRA NCs need to enhance coordination with all relevant national stakeholders by establishing intersectoral committees to manage the TC programme,” said Shaukat Abdulrazak, Director Technical Cooperation Division for Africa.

The outcomes of and recommendations made by the participants of the five-day meeting were adopted and collated into a plan of action which will inform the way the TC programme is implemented in Africa for the next two years. The NLOs expressed their readiness to take follow-up actions at the country level to implement the meeting’s recommendations and to ensure the continuing high quality of the regional programme.

NLOs and National Liaison Assistants (NLAs) from 43 African Member States attended the meeting, including delegates from: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Stay in touch