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By The Nigerian Mission

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development - NEPAD- ( website www.nepad.org), is a composite and integrated development initiative for the sustainable development of Africa. It was launched by the OAU (now AU) at its 37th summit in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2001 with the adoption of NEPAD Strategic framework document. The document was an outcome of the mandate given to the five initiating Heads of State (Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa). The Africa- owned and led initiative is an effort by African leaders and peoples to address issues of poverty and underdevelopment in the continent.

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES OF NEPAD:

The initiative has the following goals:
(i) eradication of poverty;
(ii) promotion of accelerated growth and sustainable development;
(iii) putting a halt to the marginalisation of Africa in the globalisation process and;
(iv) accelerating the empowerment of women.

PRINCIPLES OF NEPAD:

The principles of NEPAD are:
(i) good governance as a basic requirement for peace, security and sustainable political and socio-economic development;
(ii) African ownership and leadership as well as broad and deep participation by all sectors of society;
(iii) Anchoring the development of Africa on its resources and resourcefulness of its people;
(v) Partnership between and amongst African peoples;
(vi) Acceleration of regional and continental integration
(vii) Building the competitiveness of African countries and the continent;
(viii) Forging a new international partnership that changes the unequal relationship between Africa and the developed world; and
(ix) Ensuring that all partnerships with NEPAD are linked to the Millennium Development Goals and other agreed development goals and targets.

LEVELS OF OPERATION:

NEPAD advocates a commitment between African leaders and peoples on democratic governance, respect for human rights, good economic and corporate governance, responsible and accountable leadership and the building of capable states. It operates at global, regional and national levels.

At the global level, the principles that underpin the partnership between Africa and the international community including multilateral institutions, donor agencies and development partners, are mutual respect, responsibility, accountability and an equitable world order. The initiative has been receiving wide support from the international community as the approved development policy framework for the continent. The United Nations in a Resolution in November 2002, called on the international community to support the programme. The Secretary-General of the organisation has also requested that UN Agencies’ operations in Africa should work within the context of NEPAD policy framework. The UN NEPAD activities is co-ordinated by the Office of the Under Secretary-General and Special Adviser for Africa (Professor Ibrahim Gambari, a Nigerian). Another Nigerian, Chief Emeka Anyaoku is the Chairman of the 14 man United Nations Secretary-General’s panel on implementation of the NEPAD initiative at the global level.

The Group of 8 at its summit in Kananaskis, Canada in June 2002, expressed support to the implementation of NEPAD through its Africa Action Plan. This commitment was reaffirmed in subsequent summits at Evian, France and Island, USA.

At the regional level, NEPAD is involved in framework co-operation between African States and regional institutions in joint ventures that will facilitate the process of integration. In this context, NEPAD is utilising the sub-regional economic communities as building blocks for growth and economic development in order to accelerate continental integration.

At the national level, NEPAD fosters growing partnership between the public and non-governmental sector such as the private sector, the informal sector and civil society especially the NGOs, with a view to revitalising the public/private sector partnership in matters of development.

ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE:

The Heads of States and Government Implementation Committee (HSIC) provides leadership for the initiative. The HSIC comprises 16 States representing all the regions of the continent. It meets every quarter to review progress and take decisions on strategic issues. It reports to the AU summit on an annual basis. There is also the extended Steering Committee which is the operational and managerial arm of NEPAD. It is composed of personal representatives of heads of state and government who serve on HSIC. It meets more regularly and oversees the work of the secretariat based in Midrand, South Africa. It also co-ordinates the mobilisation of technical and financial support as well as facilitating implementation and promotion of the programme in Africa and in the international community by liaising with development partners. The NEPAD Secretariat co-ordinates implementation of projects and programmes approved by the HSIC.

F. IMPLEMENTATION:

NEPAD has progressed through three different stages of development. The first stage commenced in September 2000 when the Steering Committee was established to produce a Vision and Policy framework document. This was approved by the OAU Summit in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2001. The summit also launched stage two of the programme with the adoption of a resolution establishing the Heads of State and Government Implementation committee (HSIC) which is mandated to develop further the NEPAD programme. At its first meeting in October 2001, the HSIC instructed the Steering Committee to prepare a detailed implementation plan for the pursuit of NEPAD priorities. The implementation plan was completed in June 2002 with the assistance of partner organisations such as the ECA and ADB and approved by the HSIC under the title “NEPAD Initial Action Plan”. It covers all NEPAD priority areas and contains detailed sectoral plans on:

(i) Democracy, political, economic and corporate governance including the African Peer review Mechanism base document;
(ii) Health (with emphasis on communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and strengthening health systems);
(iii) Agriculture (with emphasis on sustainable land management, water control systems, improving rural infrastructure and market access, food security and strengthening research and technical development);
(iv) Market access (including strategies to increase access of African products to the markets of developed countries and addressing supply constraints and improving intra African trade;
(v) Education (including actions to achieve universal primary education by 2015 and development of centers of excellence);
(vi) Infrastructure (including provision of key national and transboundary infrastructure covering energy, transport, water sanitation and ICT).
(vii) Environmental Action Plan to address pressing environmental problems and to build capacity is being developed. Other sectoral plans are also being developed.

The current phase of NEPAD now is facilitating and supporting the implementation of the above-mentioned sectoral programmes including operationalising the African Peer Review Mechanism.

CHALLENGES:

Many NEPAD projects remain on the drawing board because Africa lacks the resources to implement them. To make resources available for the prosecution of NEPAD programmes and projects, developed countries must urgently address the issues of trade, market access, agricultural subsidies, official development assistance, foreign direct investment, external debt and capital flight. They should also make necessary concessions at the resumed talks of the WTO and respond positively to Africa’s desire for fair, equitable and rule-based international trading and financial systems. Furthermore, concerted action is required from Africa’s development partners for the release of resources necessary for effective prosecution of NEPAD projects and programmes. On the part of African States, there is the need for concerted mobilisation of internal resources, transparency and commitment by the leadership and the peoples for the programme to succeed.

NIGERIA AND NEPAD:

Nigeria, being a member of the African community feels itself bound by her destiny. An economically viable Africa is therefore in Nigeria’s national interest.

Nigeria subscribes to an African owned programme that addresses the continent’s development problems. She also believes that responsible leadership is vital to facilitate African renaissance. African leaders must be accountable to their peoples if their expectations are to be met. In this connection, Nigeria, with 15 other countries subscribed to the African Peer Review Mechanism (a system of self assessment based on standard and internationally accepted codes and best practices aimed at increased accountability and transparency by governments in the continent).

Nigeria’s current economic reform programme is a commitment to continue to make contribution to an African renaissance, which underpins NEPAD. The Nigerian government has established the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) aimed at laying a solid foundation for sustainable socio-economic transformation and poverty eradication. NEEDS also serves to strengthen governance, enhance transparency, intensify the fight against corruption, develop infrastructure especially electricity, water and roads, gives priority to food security, agricultural development and promotion of small and medium scale enterprises. In this connection therefore, it constitutes an important national contribution to attainment of the goals of NEPAD.

Nigeria has also established a national focal point and appointed a National Commissioner for NEPAD. There is also a Special Adviser to Mr. President on NEPAD. The country is also integrating NEPAD priorities in its development plans. With the election of President Obasanjo (Chairperson of the HSIC) as Chairman of the African Union, the country has the added responsibility to further promote the NEPAD programme, especially the issue of international debt.