Sunday, December 21, 2008

Economic Regeneration of Africa

Origins and function

NEPAD is a merger of two plans for the economic regeneration of Africa: the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme (MAP), led by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa in conjunction with Former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria; and the OMEGA Plan for Africa developed by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. At an extraordinary summit in Sirte, Libya, March 2001, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) agreed that the MAP and OMEGA Plans should be merged. The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) developed a "Compact for Africa’s Recovery" based on both these plans and on resolutions on Africa adopted by the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, and submitted a merged document to the Conference of African Ministers of Finance and Ministers of Development and Planning in Algiers, May 2001.
In July 2001, the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, adopted this document under the name of the New African Initiative (NAI). The leaders of G8 countries endorsed the plan on July 20, 2001; and other international development partners, including the European Union, China, and Japan also made public statements indicating their support for the program. The Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) for the project finalized the policy framework and named it the New Partnership for Africa's Development on 23 October 2001. NEPAD is now a program of the African Union (AU) that has replaced the OAU in 2002, though it has its own secretariat based in South Africa to coordinate and implement its programmes.
NEPAD’s four primary objectives are: to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable growth and development, integrate Africa in the world economy, and accelerate the empowerment of women. It is based on underlying principles of a commitment to good governance, democracy, human rights and conflict resolution; and the recognition that maintenance of these standards is fundamental to the creation of an environment conducive to investment and long-term economic growth. NEPAD seeks to attract increased investment, capital flows and funding, providing an African-owned framework for development as the foundation for partnership at regional and international levels.
In July 2002, the Durban AU summit supplemented NEPAD with a Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance. According to the Declaration, states participating in NEPAD ‘believe in just, honest, transparent, accountable and participatory government and probity in public life’. Accordingly, they ‘undertake to work with renewed determination to enforce’, among other things, the rule of law; the equality of all citizens before the law; individual and collective freedoms; the right to participate in free, credible and democratic political processes; and adherence to the separation of powers, including protection for the independence of the judiciary and the effectiveness of parliaments.
The Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance also committed participating states to establish an African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to promote adherence to and fulfilment of its commitments. The Durban summit adopted a document setting out the stages of peer review and the principles by which the APRM should operate; further core documents were adopted at a meeting in Abuja in March 2003, including a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed by governments wishing to undertake the peer review.

Current status of NEPAD
Ever since it was set up there has been some tension over the place of NEPAD within the AU programs, given its origins outside the framework of the AU, and the continuing dominant role of South Africa -- symbolised by the location of the secretariat in South Africa.
Successive AU summits and meetings of the HSGIC have proposed the greater integration of NEPAD into the AU's structures and processes. In March 2007 there was a 'brainstorming session' on NEPAD held in Algeria at which the future of NEPAD and its relationship with the AU was discussed by an ad hoc committee of heads of state. The committee again recommended the fuller integration of NEPAD with the AU.[1] In April 2008, a review summit of five heads of state -- Presidents Mbeki of South Africa, Wade of Senegal, Bouteflika of Algeria, Mubarak of Egypt and Yar'Adua of Nigeria -- met in Senegal with a mandate to consider the progress in implementing NEPAD and report to the next AU summit to be held in Egypt in July 2008.[2]

NEPAD Principles
Good Governance as a basic requirement for peace and security, and sustainable political and socioeconomic development
African ownership and leadership, as well as broad and deep participation by all sectors of society
Anchoring the development of Africa on its resources and the resourcefulness of its people
Partnership between and among African peoples
Acceleration of regional and continental integration
Building the competitiveness of African countries and the continent
Forging a new intentional partnership that changes the unequal relationship between Africa and the developed world
Ensuring that all partnerships with NEPAD are linked to the Millennium Development Goals and other agreed development goals and targets

The HSGIC to which the NEPAD secretariat reports comprises three states for each region of the African Union, with former President Obasanjo (Nigeria) as elected chair, and Presidents Bouteflika (Algeria) and Wade (Senegal) as deputy chairmen. The HSGIC meets several times a year and reports to the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government.
There is also a steering committee, comprising 20 AU member states, to oversee projects and program development.
The NEPAD Secretariat is based in Midrand, South Africa. The first CEO was Wiseman Nkuhlu of South Africa (2001-2005), and the second Mozambican Firmino Mucavele (2005-2008). As of February 2008 a new CEO was being sought.
The NEPAD Secretariat is not responsible for the implementation of development programs itself, but works with the African Regional Economic Communities -- the building blocks of the African Union.[3] The role of the NEPAD Secretariat is one of coordination and resource mobilisation.
Many individual African states have also established national NEPAD structures responsible for liaison with the continental initiatives on economic reform and development programs.

UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA)
African Development Bank
Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA)
Investment Climate Facility (ICF)
African Capacity Building Foundation
Office of the UN Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa
IDC (The Industrial Development Corporation) - Sponsor of NEPAD

The eight priority areas of NEPAD are: political, economic and corporate governance; agriculture; infrastructure; education; health; science and technology; market access and tourism; and environment.
During the first few years of its existence, the main task of the NEPAD Secretariat and key supporters was the popularisation of NEPAD’s key principles, as well as the development of action plans for each of the sectoral priorities. NEPAD also worked to develop partnerships with international development finance institutions -- including the World Bank, G8, European Commission, UNECA and others -- and with the private sector.[4]
After this initial phase, more concrete programs were developed, including:
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), aimed at assisting the launching of a 'green revolution' in Africa, based on a belief in the key role of agriculture in development.
The NEPAD Science and Technology programme, including an emphasis on research in areas such as water science and energy.
The "e-schools programme", adopted by the HSGIC in 2003 as an initiative to equip all 600,000 primary and secondary schools in Africa with IT equipment and internet access within 10 years, in partnership with several large IT companies. See NEPAD E-School program
The launch of a Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) by the Public Investment Corporation of South Africa, to finance high priority cross-border infrastructure projects.
Capacity building for continental institutions, working with the African Capacity Building Foundation, the Southern Africa Trust, UNECA, the African Development Bank, and other development partners. One of NEPAD's priorities has been to strengthen the capacity of and linkages among the Regional Economic Communities.

Criticism of NEPAD
NEPAD was initially met with a great deal of scepticism from much of civil society in Africa as playing into the 'Washington Consensus' model of economic development. In July 2002, members of some forty African social movements, trade unions, youth and women's organizations, NGOs, religious organizations and others endorsed the African Civil Society Declaration on NEPAD[5] rejecting NEPAD; a similar hostile view was taken by African scholars and activist intellectuals in the 2002 Accra Declaration on Africa's Development Challenges.[6]
Part of the problem in this rejection was the process by which NEPAD was adopted was insufficiently participatory -- civil society was almost totally excluded from the discusions by which it came to be adopted. The poor quality of the actual NEPAD document is to some extent a reflection of this lack of consultation.
More recently, NEPAD has also been criticised by some of its initial backers, including notably Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who accused NEPAD of wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and achieving nothing.[7] Like many other intergovernmental bodies, NEPAD suffers from slow decision-making, and a relatively poorly resourced and often cumbersome implementing framework. There is a great lack of information about the day to day activities of the NEPAD secretariat -- the website is notably uninformative -- that does not help its case.
However, the program has also received some acceptance from those initially very critical, and in general its status has become less controversial as it has become more established and its programs have become more concrete. The aim of promoting greater regional integration and trade among African states is welcomed by many, even as the fundamental macroeconomic principles NEPAD endorses remain contested.

See also
African Peer Review Mechanism
African Union
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD): An Initial Commentary by Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University
Nepad’s APRM: A Progress Report, Practical Limitations and Challenges, by Ayesha Kajee
External links
NEPAD official website
Archive of NEPAD Dialogue newsletters from the NEPAD Secretariat
E-Africa Commission
UNECA page of resources and information on NEPAD
South African Department of Foreign Affairs NEPAD page compilation of articles from the African media on NEPAD
Compilation of news stories on NEPAD, the APRM and African Union by the Africa Governance Monitoring and Advocacy Project of the Open Society Institute
Sustainability Watch NGO site with a compilation of civil society responses to NEPAD.
University of Iowa Center for International Finance and Development What is NEPAD? A Faq on Nepad by an academic institution.

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