Since the entry in force in 1990 of AFRA, AFRA Member States have been carrying out cooperative projects in various fields of nuclear science and technology for socio-economic development. At present, AFRA has a membership of 34 African countries, a management structure which is taking ownership of the programme’s conceptual design, planning, implementation and monitoring, and a set of cooperative projects which fall under four themes in the fields of radiation safety, human health, agriculture and radiation technology. Following the adoption of the Regional Cooperative Framework (RCF) in November 2007, AFRA will address six important thematic areas related to Human Health, Agriculture, Water Resources, Energy, Industrial Applications and Radiation Safety.
Being an inter-governmental agreement, AFRA translates into concrete cooperative undertakings the Member States political commitment to regional cooperation and to mutual assistance under the umbrella of Technical Cooperation among developing countries (TCDC) or south-south cooperation. AFRA’s spirit reflects Member States desire to share the available nuclear facilities and expertise, to exchange information and experience and to facilitate the transfer of know-how to those Member States where the expertise is needed. During the first five-year term, AFRA has focused on regional capacity-building to enable scientists in all its Member States to acquire the necessary capability which could stimulate the exchange of information and experience and facilitate the transfer of know-how from the advanced countries to the countries where the expertise is needed. Efforts were therefore directed towards the optimal use of the infrastructure, including the design and enforcement of new procedures and rules. At the beginning of the following five-years, the AFRA programme was audited by a group of experts who made some recommendations, including the necessity to re-orient the programme effort to need-driven and solution-oriented activities that can optimize the utilization of available regional facilities and expertise and rationalize the programme’s strategies (objectives) by generating a new thematic approach to development issues.