Nigeria – Technical Aid Corps
Country (ies): Provider (Nigeria) Recipients (Ethiopia; Sierra Leone; Uganda; Jamaica, and Belize)
The TAC programme is a technical cooperation between Nigeria and African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations. It is an alternative to direct financial aid designed for sharing Nigeria’s know-how and expertise with other ACP countries. Nigeria uses professionals from various sectors such as medicine and academia to carry out this programme in the recipient countries. The programme acts as a channel through which South-South collaboration is enhanced through streamlined programme of assistance to other developing countries. It shows enormous amount of local ownership and knowledge transfer from Nigeria experts to participating personnel of the recipient countries. TAC has played a cardinal role in cementing existing relations between Nigeria and beneficiary countries, and, on a wider scale, in creating an atmosphere of partnership where it otherwise would not exist.
The Federal Government of Nigeria in 1987 established the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps (TAC) scheme as an alternative to direct financial aid for African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations. It is designed, not only to provide manpower assistance in all fields of human endeavour, but to also represent a practical demonstration of South-South cooperation.
Key objectives of the scheme are:
. Sharing Nigeria’s know-how and expertise with other ACP countries
. Giving assistance on the basis of assessed and perceived needs of recipient countries
. Promoting cooperation and understanding between Nigeria and recipient countries. Facilitating meaningful contact between youths of Nigeria and those of recipient countries
. Complementing other forms of assistance to ACP countries
. Ensuring a streamlined programme of assistance to other developing countries
. Acting as a channel through which South-South collaboration is enhanced
. Establishing a presence in countries which, for economic reasons, Nigeria has no resident diplomatic mission.
In terms of comparative advantage, Nigeria share similar history in development issues with the recipient countries. The country also pays the Nigerian expatriates from its own treasure without the recipient countries contributing financially.
The strength of the TAC programme and its success is predicated on the fact that it is a people-oriented and people-centred assistance programme geared towards the development of recipient countries. The implementation of the scheme has endeared Nigeria to many countries as a facilitator of effective cooperation in socio-economic development among ACP countries.
The Federal Government of Nigeria recognizes the programme as a foreign policy tool for the consolidation of Nigeria’s role in the independence struggles of some African countries. It is a catalyst for peace, progress and development among both beneficiary and non-beneficiary countries.
Management of the TAC scheme is carried out by the Directorate of TAC, which falls under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The scheme is currently the only viable volunteer service operated by an African country. The MOU calls for the provision of Nigerian expertise to needy member states under the Commonwealth Assistance Programme (CAP) and managed by the Directorate of TAC in Nigeria.
Volunteers are chosen from a pool of citizens who apply through federal government departments and are carefully selected for their skill and knowledge in a particular field. The provision of this manpower is entirely funded through public funds. A placement normally last from 2 to 4 years and volunteers could be assigned to any number of projects: a typical assignment for a volunteer could be to help with the construction of a school or to provide essential health care services.
Some of the activities carried out through TAC so far include:
- Under the TAC Scheme, which was signed in August 2002, the Nigerian government upon the request of the Jamaican government agreed to send medical volunteers to the island for a period of two years.
-On 04 March 2007, the African Press Agency reported the deployment of 29 medical professionals from the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps Scheme to the Caribbean nation of Belize. These volunteers were chosen to work as pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and laboratory technicians.
-Again, on 06 November 2006, the Jamaican Ministry of Health announced the arrival of 28 Nigerian nurses that were set to fill positions within three of its four Regional Health Authorities. The nurses formed part of a contingent of 110 medical personnel expected to arrive in Jamaica under the Technical Aid Corps Scheme (TAC). They include pharmacists, doctors, physiotherapists and radiographic technicians.
- In 2006, 40 Nigerian medical personnel were deployed to Kampala International University Teaching Hospital, located in Ishaka in the Bushenyi district of Uganda to work as well teach in the hospital.
- In 2009, the sum of US$ 70 million dollars was designated by the Nigerian government for the operation of 132 highly qualified professionals in Sierra Leone as requested by President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone.
TAC has played a cardinal role in cementing existing relations between Nigeria and beneficiary countries, and, on a wider scale, in creating an atmosphere of partnership where it otherwise would not exist.
Some of the challenges Nigeria faces in administering this programme include the fact that it cannot provide the high number of personnel usually requested by the recipient countries. Huge amount of money is usually expended annually on the project.
The effectiveness and viability of TAC as a foreign policy instrument is demonstrated in the commendation it receives from recipient countries and other members of the international community. In Sierra Leone, for instance, TAC has been operating for the last 21 years. Since then, not less than 150 volunteers (had been sent) to this country. TAC has played a cardinal role in cementing existing relations between Nigeria and beneficiary countries, and, on a wider scale, in creating an atmosphere of partnership where it otherwise would not exist. Between 1987 and 2009, over 1,677 TAC volunteers have been deployed to 33 countries, thereby demonstrating that the scheme has provided a clear direction in Nigeria’s foreign aid and technical assistance policy.
Since the inception of the scheme, TAC has recorded substantial progress in the following areas:
. Increase in the number of recipient countries from African, Caribbean and Pacific regions
. Increase in the number of volunteers deployed abroad
. Overwhelming interest from both Nigerian volunteers and recipient countries under the biennium TAC scheme.
The TAC programme is very sustainable. It attracted the attention of the Commonwealth, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Government in March 2003. Other international organisations that have shown interest in the TAC programme include the United Nations (UN) Volunteer Service and the Japanese Agency for International Cooperation (JAIC).
TAC has enjoyed tremendous support and to continue to promote bilateral relations between Nigeria and other countries. And to promote the South, South cooperation within the umbrella of the scheme just as it continues to promote self-reliance and to encourage development in our country. Above all, it exposes the volunteers to the world, to best practices and to the challenging needs of the 21st century. The volunteers usually come back with changed attitude because they would have then realised that after all, Nigeria has all it takes and if only they can leverage on what Nigeria has, the country should surely advance further in all facets of activities in the world.
TAC has been in existence before the Paris Declaration (PD) on Aid Effectiveness. However, Nigeria as one of the leading campaigners and coordinators of SSC has pursued this programme vigorously since after the PD in a way to show that Aid can also be given to recipient countries in kind through technical cooperations. The programme carries no conditionalities for the aid to be administered. It is a case of developing country carrying other developing countries along towards better life for all. It constitutes both short and long-term process of building a more horizontal partnership between donor and partner countries around the effective use of foreign aid resources for the achievement of development results such as the MDG.
The Programme enjoys the support of the Federal Government of Nigeria to the extent of having a place in the constitution. The statute establishing the scheme – Decree 27 – was signed into a law on 22 January 1993 and officially documented on 5 May 1993, thus giving it a legal backing and framework. It enjoys budgetary allocations through various ministries in the country.
The recipient countries prioritizes what kind of expertise they want Nigeria to provide; ranging from doctors, teachers, nurses etc.
TAC presents a commendable example of the Continent’s ongoing development.
Capacity Development (CD) as one of the key elements of PD has been integrated into TAC in order to strengthen developing countries’ capacity to lead and manage development. Concretely, Nigeria and other recipient countries of the scheme have agreed to “i) jointly select and manage technical cooperation, and ii) promote the provision of technical cooperation by local and regional resources, including through South-South co-operation.
TAC avails the participants of the prgramme the opportunity to deal with multi-cultural environments as well as learn from each other. Though Nigeria is the donor, it sees the recipient countries as equals without trying to interfere in the affairs of the country. This is a good lesson for other donor involve in the North-South cooperation.
Duration: TAC was established in 1987 and it in an on-going programme
Budget (Optional): Determined and managed through the MOFA
Name of Primary Contact Person: Mamman Daura
Title of Primary Contact Person: Ambassador
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