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Overview of the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps Scheme
Dec 7, 2004, 13:05
The Federal Government of Nigeria in 1987 established the Nigerian Technical Aid Corps (TAC) scheme as a foreign policy tool that would serve specific national interests.
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.
As an instrument of Nigeria’s foreign policy, the TAC programme is 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. (South-South refers to underdeveloped and developing countries in the southern hemisphere).
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.
Between 1987 and 2004, 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 Obasanjo Administration in 1999, 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 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
Ultimately, Nigeria stands to gain enormously, both politically and economically, from recipient countries.
The prospects of the TAC programme are very bright. Recently it attracted the attention of the Commonwealth, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Government in March 2003.
The MOU calls for the provision of Nigerian expertise to needy member states under the Commonwealth Assistance Programme (CAP) to be managed by the Directorate of TAC in Nigeria.
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).
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.
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 programme is also a deliberate policy option 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.
The scheme is currently the only viable volunteer service operated by an African country.
Management of the TAC scheme is carried out by the Directorate of TAC, which falls under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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