On April 5, 2004, the Nigerian Government represented by the Honourable Minister of Finance, signed the Technical Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), effectively creating the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) to be jointly administered by the DTCA and AfDB. The Agreement authorized the transfer of US$25m from the NTF to create the NTCF to finance technical and institutional support programmes for the benefit of Regional Member Countries (RMCs), with a view to promoting greater intraAfrican technical cooperation through the mobilization of African expertise. The Fund is project and programme driven, utilizable at a depletion rate of US$2.5m per annum over a ten year period in the first instance. It focuses on the development of Science & Technology, Health, Business & Finance, Agriculture, Education, Public Administration, Regional Integration, Climate Change and Green Development, Governance, and Gender Issues. The signing of the Technical Cooperation Agreement was followed by the negotiation and signing of the Aide Memoir for the operationalization of the NTCF by a technical team led by the Permanent Secretary of the then Ministry of Cooperation and Integration in Africa (MCIA) from 15th to 16th June, 2004.

To facilitate the efficient management and administration of the NTCF, the Operational Manual of the Fund was signed by the DTCA and the AfDB on 24th January, 2006, which effectively marked the take-off and commencement of implementation of DTCA’s Scientific and Technical Exchange Programme (STEP). STEP is aimed at deploying high level technical experts and professionals of African descent to serve as “technical ambassadors” to sister African nations with a view to bridging the technological gap between African nations, and between African nations and the rest of the world. In promoting technical cooperation amongst African nations, STEP harnesses the comparative advantage and economies of scale existing between African countries, while promoting brotherhood and African integration. The Scientific and Technical Exchange Programme (STEP) is therefore not just a philosophical statement, but a concrete programme of action actively supported by sustainable funding from the Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF). It is important to note that STEP is strictly programme/project driven and is untied to consultants from RMCs, while women will be given preference within the Rules and Procedures of DTCA and AfDB, in accordance with the objectives of the Fund