To facilitate the much-desired strategic integration of African countries through technical cooperation, the Nigerian Government instituted a Nigerian Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF), which is project and programme driven at the African Development Bank (AfDB). The Fund provides for US$25m as seed/catalyst money to finance the Scientific and Technical Exchange Programme (STEP) of the Directorate over a period of ten years, at a depletion rate of US$2.5m per year. Through the instrument of the NTCF, the Directorate, in collaboration with the AfDB, is mandated to deploy African professionals and experts to serve in needy African countries under STEP with a view to reverting the “brain drain” phenomenon to “brain gain” and “brain circulation” among African countries. The STEP programme targets three categories of experts as follows:
(a) The African trained and experienced academics, amongst whom are those who, due to statutory regulations retired from Universities, Research Institutes and Colleges, but are not yet tired
(b) The large number of senior public service officers, being seasoned administrators and professionals, who have reached the Directorate level, who can handle policy, including those who have had to retire due to the statutory age limit.
(c) Those who found their way abroad and settled and worked there, and are at the cutting edge of the latest technological development in Industry, Education, Law, Research, Business, Information & Communication Technology, Medicine, Engineering and all other fields of human endeavor.
The Scope of activities covered are:-
• Institutional/Technical support and other capacity building programme in Africa;
• Engaging consultants for the preparation of pre-feasibility and feasibility studies;
• Acquisition of consulting services for the identification, preparation, appraisal, implementation, supervision and post-evaluation of development projects and programmes in Africa as well as carrying out mid-term reviews and audits;
• Provision of technical assistance for the rehabilitation of existing projects;
• Provision of training and capacity building;
• Provision of technical assistance for policy studies; and
• Other technical assistance activities that may be bi-laterally and multi-laterally agreed upon.