The Foundation for Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta, PIND, in collaboration with Market Development in the Niger Delta, MADE, will hold the sixth edition of its Niger Delta Development Forum, NDDF, 2017, with the theme, “The Future in Our Hands : A State-Led Framework for Planning and Development in the Niger Delta.”
In a press statement made available to reporters in Abuja on Friday, PIND’s Knowledge Manager, Chichi Nnoham-Onyejekwe, said this year’s forum which follows on from the recommendations of the 2016 forum will focus on PIND’s collaboration with both state and non-state actors on the methodologies for long-term planning and implementation for domestic resource mobilisation and inclusive growth in the Niger Delta region.
The recommendations of the 2016 forum called for a bottom-up approach to regional development and governance alongside a strong emphasis on state governments to develop a framework for strategic planning for development, competitiveness, and inclusive growth.
Ms. Nnoham-Onyejekwe said that the event which will be held in Uyo will also showcase working models for development planning that can transform states and share practical ways of achieving development planning.
The forum which enjoys the support of USAID’s Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) will offer a unique opportunity to all participants to frame and influence the discourse, hold consultations and research.
Ms. Nnoham-Onyejekwe also quoted the Executive Director of PIND, Dara Akala, as saying the recession has given the region an opportunity to look beyond oil.
“The recession, for good or for ill, has given the region an opportunity to think beyond oil. We must now critically assess the sectors that can drive growth, increase the tax base for resource mobilization and contribute to a truly diversified, robust economy. None of these will be possible without planning,” he said.
PIND noted that the forum will also aim to share framework and tools that will inform decision-making, guide policy actions and provide clear direction to sustainable growth of the Niger Delta states’ unique resources and business environment.
“The two-day meeting will provide shared accountabilities and transparency amongst state governments and regional stakeholders for coordinating intra-state, inter-state and regional activities, as well as providing regulatory stability to promote efficient and effective external stakeholders’ investments into the states,” Ms. Nnoham-Onyejekwe said.
The statement went further to explain that this year’s NDDF is intended to align with the broader vision of the federal and regional strategic direction in the thematic areas of focus and operate based on the provision of relevant laws and regulations in the country. It will prioritise key turnaround interventions and enablers to generate more tangible impact.
“From our experience of partnering with government at federal and state levels, PIND and partners strongly believe that Niger Delta states can learn from each other’s experiences to improve their processes and economic performance. NDDF will be a perfect way of bringing the states together as well public and private stakeholders within the states; show each state what they can do each other and come away with a plan for short, medium and long-term development that will benefit both the states and the region as a whole,” the organisers said.
The NDDF is an annual forum for multi-stakeholder conversations on economic development and policy in the Niger Delta. Held in a different Niger Delta city every year, it has become a go-to platform for meaningful development discourse, mobilizing interest for Niger Delta development and stimulating investments in agriculture and small businesses development in the region.
“This year’s Forum will start with a keynote address and presentations, and then followed by thematic working sessions on day one and day two, and ending with a closing plenary detailing framework/action items for stakeholders,” Ms. Nnoham-Onyejekwe said.
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