On 12 September, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, met with the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Architect Namadi Sambo. She was accompanied by the Minister of Education, Chief (Barr.) Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, the Permanent Delegate of Nigeria to UNESCO Ms Maryam Katagum, the Director of UNESCO Dakar (BREDA), the Director of the UNESCO Regional Office in Abuja, and the Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO.
The Director-General expressed her appreciation for the support of Member States in choosing Abuja for the Regional Office for West Africa, the strong support of the Honourable Minister of Education in the literacy as well as the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) projects. She assured the Vice President of UNESCO’s mandate to support the President’s decision to support transforming Nigeria into a regional ‘silicon valley,’ to strengthen water and science, as well as work in the cultural field.
The Vice President extended the President’s greetings and congratulated the Director-General for her successful tenure and her determination to open the Regional Office, underlining the support that will be provided to the Office. He mentioned the initiatives supported by the Federal Government of Nigeria in advancing sustainable development in Nigeria, which included Vision 20:2020 – improving the standard of living for Nigerian citizens, implementation of the transformation agenda, continued support for the education sector, promoting the law against child labour and other initiatives in the energy, transport, infrastructure, health, agriculture and tourism. He expressed his concerns for the need to build human capacities, without which the transformation agenda cannot be accomplished.
On the same day, the Director-General met the Acting Resident Coordinator for the United Nations System in Nigeria, Ms Jean Gough, UNICEF Country Director. The Director-General welcomed the cooperation of all the UN agencies in achieving development goals and advancing quality education for all, and pledged UNESCO’s continued support to Delivering as One. Acknowledging the support to the education sector, Ms Gough highlighted the need for ever greater efforts to reach the large numbers of children out of school. The Director-general pointed to the importance here of UNESCO’s support for formal and non-formal education.