Nepad lays out vision for Africa

At the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual African summit in Durban in June 2002, the central theme was the blueprint for the continent, called The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad).

Nepad is a vision for Africa that aims to tackle issues such as peace and security, good economic, political and corporate governance, and to make the continent an attractive destination for foreign investment.

It is a project of the African Union (AU) and has a steering committee of 15 African countries. Founding countries include South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria and Senegal.

A Nepad positioning document says: “The New Partnership for Africa’s Development is a pledge by African leaders, based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction, that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development and, at the same time, to participate actively in the world economy and body politic.”

At the WEF conference in June, South African President Thabo Mbeki said that details of Nepad’s implementation projects would be made public by the end of this year. The programmes would deal with Africa’s infrastructure, energy, human resources, education and health backlogs.

Six task teams have been designated to investigate the following priority areas and details of the implementation programmes will be published before the end of 2002:

  • Peace, security, democracy and political governance
  • Economic and corporate governance
  • Infrastructure development
  • Central Banks, the African Development Bank and financial structures
  • Market access and agriculture
  • Debt reduction and foreign direct investmentWriting in the ANC web journal ANC Today at the time of the WEF summit, Mbeki, who formulated the African Renaissance concept and is a key driver of Nepad, said: “The challenge to end the economic marginalisation of Africa, and therefore to attract the necessary resources into our continent to ensure its development, stands at the heart both of the vision of an African Renaissance and Nepad.

    “Without the achievement of this objective, neither the African Renaissance nor the AU nor Nepad will succeed. As an integral part of this, Nepad is focused on the establishment of a new partnership between the north and the south – to end (the old) relationship between the dominant northern donors and the subservient southern recipients of charity.”

    Main initiatives
    Although Nepad is still too young to have defined concrete programmes, these are the key initatives:

    Peace, security, democracy and political governance initiative
    Conditions for sustainable development, namely peace and security, democracy and political governance.

    Economic and corporate governance initiative
    Conditions for sustainable development, namely improved state capacity to promote economic growth and development.

    Bridging the infrastructure gap
    All forms of infrastructure, regional and continental, including information and communication technologies, energy, transport and water and sanitation.

    Human resource development initiative
    The human resource priority includes poverty reduction, education, reversing the brain drain, and health.

    Capital flows initiative
    This includes topics related to capital flows, such as increasing domestic resource mobilisation, debt relief, ODA reforms and private capital flows.

    Market access initiative
    This covers market access issues such as diversification of production, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, services, promoting the private sector, promoting African exports, and the removal of non-tariff barriers.

    Environment initiative
    This includes initiatives to develop a coherent environmental programme.

    Nepad is a merger of the Millennium Partnership for Africa’s Recovery Programme (MAP) and the Omega Plan.

    • The merger was finalised on 3 July 2001.
    • Out of the merger, the New Africa Initiative (NAI) was born.
    • NAI was then approved by the OAU Summit Heads of State and Government on July 11 2001.
    • Its policy framework was finalised by HSIC on 23 October 2001, forming Nepad.

    Streering committee
    The Nepad Steering Committee is composed of the following 15 countries:

    • Algeria*
    • Botswana
    • Cameroon
    • Egypt*
    • Ethiopia
    • Gabon
    • Mali
    • Mauritius
    • Mozambique
    • Nigeria*
    • Rwanda
    • Sao Tome and Principe
    • Senegal*
    • South Africa*
    • Tunisia

    *founding countries

    Nepad view
    The Nepad brochure circulated at the World Economic Forum discussions states: “We are at a significant juncture in history. A critical mass of leadership has developed both on the continent and abroad that are genuinely committed to the regeneration of the continent. Africa’s advances in recent years, the convergence of agreement on international development goals, and a common agenda for Africa illustrate this.

    “Also, Nepad provides three key new elements, namely: it is African developed, managed and owned; it brings the concept of a new partnership (with mutual commitments, obligations, interest, contributions and benefits); and Africa is undertaking certain commitments and obligations in its own interest which are not externally imposed conditionalities.”

    Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said at the WEF conference in Durban that Nepad is the first “all-inclusive” plan for Africa devised by African leaders for Africans. It is Africa’s attempt to deal with global challenges. One of its primary objectives is to create peace, as without peace Africa cannot have economic development. And without peace, the world cannot talk of effectively fighting terrorism.

    “What is going to change is the attitude of the leadership in Africa,” said Mozambican President Joaquim Alberto Chissano. “Nepad is first a partnership of Africa, and then a partnership with someone else. We own the initiative.”

    Reuel Khoza, chairman of South African electricity parastatal Eskom, and co-chair of the Africa Economic Summit 2002, described Nepad as “a catalyst for delivering cross-border physical infrastructure development”.

    Other key objectives of the process are the eradication of poverty and establishing good governance and democracy on the continent. “We are imposing these standards of governance on ourselves because we know that there are no alternatives,” said Obasanjo. “If we fail, we can only blame ourselves, so we cannot allow it to fail.”

    The US$64-billion needed to fund Nepad annually will come from the proceeds of trade, from foreign direct investment into areas that create a conducive climate, and from debt relief, said Obasanjo. The key word in the Nepad is “partnerships” – between Africa and the rest of the world, between African nations themselves, and between governments and civil society, he added.

    The Nepad process marks the first time in recent history that there has been ongoing engagement between Africa and the rest of the world, indicated by the fact that the G-8 group has discussed the matter on three occasions.

    And African leaders themselves are also “increasingly singing from the same hymnbook”, said Obasanjo. There is now a need to start engaging the “African diaspora” in the process. reporter


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