Between the 1960s to 1980s, so many African countries were liberated, but these were also decades that were characterised by political instability, military coups, one-party governments, dictatorships and the heightened influence of Cold War politics in African affairs. Faced with the onset of an economic crisis – huge foreign debts and declines in social development – and the failure of the international financial institutions’ free market policies, African countries tried to reverse these trends by calling for a new international economic order (NIEO) through which they could craft self-reliant, culturally relevant and state-influenced development strategies.
In such a context, African leaders found it necessary to transform the focus of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) from political liberation to economic development. Hence, throughout the 1980s and 1990s African governments went on to design a series of pan-African development approaches which they felt were relevant to the needs of their people. These initiatives included: the Lagos Plan of Action (1980), the Final Act of Lagos (1980), Africa’s Priority Programme for Economic Recovery (1986-1990), the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programme (1989), the African (Arusha) Charter for Popular Participation and Development (1990), the Abuja Treaty (1991) and the Cairo Agenda (1994) amongst others.
Faced with the failures of these plans, the ills of the structural adjustment programmes of modernisation and falling growth rates when other regions such as Asia were on the rise, ‘a new breed of African leaders’ entered the 21st century with proclamations of a re-birth for Africa. It is in this regard that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is the result of three parallel initiatives. The first is the Millennium Africa Recovery Plan (MAP), led by South African President Thabo Mbeki and unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2001. The second initiative is the Omega Plan, crafted by the President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, and presented to the Summit of Francophone African leaders in Cameroon in January 2001. MAP and the Omega Plan were then combined to give birth to a third initiative the New African Initiative (NAI) that then led to NEPAD in 2001.
All three initiatives shared a common interest in increasing the pace and impact of Africa’s development. While these initiatives share common characteristics, there were also differences reflecting the regional and other priorities of the enactors. Compromises had to be made in order to merge the three proposals into one initiative. NEPAD thus reflects the compromises involved in arriving at a single initiative. The founding member countries of NEPAD included South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Senegal.
NEPAD was adopted by African Heads of State and Government of the OAU in 2001 and was ratified by the African Union (AU) in 2002 to address Africa’s development problems within a new paradigm. NEPAD’s main objectives are to reduce poverty, put Africa on a sustainable development path, halt the marginalization of Africa, and empower women. The initiative was meant to be the mechanism for Africa’s development – today and tomorrow.
Since its initiation, NEPAD has been promoted widely both within Africa and in the industrialised North. NEPAD is now recognised as Africa’s development plan by all the governments of the North, and the international financial institutions, and by many international governance institutions like the United Nations. NEPAD is widely seen as the mechanism through which support to Africa’s development efforts can be best delivered. Thus, the NEPAD process has come to be accepted not only by African countries and RECs but also by Africa’s development partners as the framework mechanism for their development efforts.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is the vision and strategic framework adopted by African leaders to address poverty and underdevelopment throughouts the African continent. Its broad approach was initially agreed at the 36th Heads of State and Government Assembly of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) held in Algeria, in 2000. The meeting asked Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa to develop an integrated socio-economic framework for Africa. Subsequently, the 37th Summit of the OAU held in Lusaka, Zambia in July 2001 formally endorsed NEPAD as the framework for the continent’s development. In January 2010, the 14th African Union (AU) Summit strengthened the NEPAD programme by endorsing its integration into the AU.
The Secretary-General established the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) to increase international support for NEPAD, to coordinate UN system efforts in support of NEPAD and to report annually to the General Assembly on progress in the implementation of and international support for NEPAD. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is the vision and strategic framework adopted by African leaders at the 37th Summit of the OAU held in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 2001. The NEPAD strategy document is designed to address the current challenges facing the African continent.
One of the major frameworks for creating NEPAD was for placing African countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development. Halting the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process and increasing the continent’s full and beneficial integration into the global economy. Also, establishing the conditions for sustainable development by ensuring peace and security, democracy and sound political, economic and corporate governance.
Moreso, regional cooperation and integration through policy reforms and increased investment in major large-scale human empowerment sectors like Agriculture. Human resources development with a focus on health, education, science and technology, building and improving infrastructure, promoting diversification of production and exports, especially in agro-industry, manufacturing, mining and mineral processing and tourism, accelerating trade among African countries and improving access for their exports to markets in advanced countries. Also, in the area of environment by mobilizing resources and increasing domestic savings and investment. Improving Africa’s share of global trade and attracting more foreign direct investment as well as increasing capital flows through further debt reduction and enhanced aid.
Meanwhile, for a concise and complete emphasis on the activities of NEPAD to be made, it’s imperative to make mention briefly of both two strong components of NEPAD. That’s the NEPAD Council (NC) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).
NEPAD Council (NC) is a non-political and independent non-profit organisation that was founded to support The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), which is a strategic framework for pan-African socio-economic development. NEPAD Council aligns its activities towards the original NEPAD six theme areas:
1) Agriculture and Food Security,
2) Climate Change and National Resource Management,
3) Regional Integration and Infrastructure,
4) Human Development,
5) Economic and Corporate Governance,
6) Cross-cutting Issues (e.g. Gender, Capacity Development and ICT).
NEPAD provides an historic opportunity to overcome obstacles to development in Africa. A council was created to aid contribution to the initiati designed to encourage the imaginative effort that underlies the NEPAD and to lay a solid foundation for future cooperation and sustainable development. The case for action is compelling. Despite its great potential and human resources, Africa continues to face some of the world’s greatest challenges. The many initiatives designed to spur Africa’s development have failed to deliver sustained improvements to the lives of women, men and children throughout Africa.
NEPAD Council offers something different. It is, first and foremost, a common vision shared by African professionals to support and promote the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. Together, Africa has an unprecedented opportunity to make progress on our common goals of eradicating extreme poverty and achieving sustainable development. NEPAD Council will support African leaders’ efforts to encourage public engagement in the NEPAD and will consult with NEPAD members on how to best assist their efforts. NEPAD Council will be committed to mobilize and energize global action, marshal resources and expertise, and provide impetus in support of NEPAD’s objectives. As NEPAD’s partner, NEPAD Council will undertake mutually reinforcing actions to help Africa accelerate growth and make lasting gains against poverty.
The Agenda of NEPAD Council focuses on a limited number of priority areas where, collectively and individually, we can add value. NEPAD Council focuses particular attention on enhanced-partnership countries. It also works with countries that do not yet meet the standards of NEPAD but which are clearly committed to and working towards such an implementation.
The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) – a key component of NEPAD – is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member states of the African Union (AU) as an African self-monitoring mechanism. The APRM is a bold, unique and innovative approach designed and implemented by Africans for Africa. The APR process entails periodic reviews of the policies and practices of participating countries to ascertain progress being made towards achieving the mutually agreed goals and compliance in the four focus areas, namely Democracy and Political Governance, Economic Governance and Management, Corporate Governance, and Socio-Economic Development.
As of June 2010, 29 African countries had voluntarily acceded to APRM: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia. Twelve countries had been peer reviewed: Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda.
One of the ways through which industrialisation can be boosted in Africa especially in Nigeria, is by exploring the opportunities provided by actualising the rationale for adopting the agenda of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). The Executive Director of the African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage), Dr. Ifediora Amobi, made this submission at a workshop organised by the institution on ‘Strengthening the Effectiveness of NEPAD in Nigeria: The Way Forward’.
Amobi, who bemoaned the state of NEPAD Nigeria since its establishment 12 years ago, noted that the country had been devoting huge financial commitment to the initiative but yet to take advantage of the infrastructural development aspect of it, which could have helped the country overcome its industrial challenges. The AfriHeritage boss averred that the workshop’s greatest achievements would be to utilise the outcome to change public perception about NEPAD in Nigeria. He added that the belief in many quarters is that, after 12 years, the impact of NEPAD is yet to be felt in Nigeria; considering the fact that Nigeria is one of the five founding member countries of NEPAD and one of its highest financial contributors.
On the role the legislature must play to realising the agenda, Amobi called on the national assembly to see the current unemployment in the country as a great challenge that calls for pragmatic actions. He therefore expressed belief that the communiqué to be issued at the workshop would provide the lawmakers the additional impetus for accelerated legislature to drive for the enactment of the ‘Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the NEPAD Commission and Other Related Matters’.
Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Strategic Research and Studies, National Defence College, Nigeria, Dr. Okezie Nwankwo, who presented a paper on ‘NEPAD and the Challenges of Economic Development’ said NEPAD Nigeria lacks specific policies and strategies to monitor and achieve its objectives. He added that such policies and strategies would enable it not only to benchmark the MDAs but also to apportion blame where necessary and set concrete and time bound targets.
According to him NEPAD Nigeria is yet to impact positively in the area of infrastructure development especially in the critical sectors of education and health. “Nigeria needs to adhere to the NEPAD policy on the development of education and the health sectors in the area of funding. By so doing, these sectors would be able to produce and sustain a higher skilled workforce which will invariably lead to greater economic development. “NEPAD Nigeria must be geared towards capacity building particularly for government functionaries to enable them promote through their various MDAs a set of concrete and time bound programmes aimed at enhancing the quality of economic and public financial management as well as corporate governance. For each sector, however, the objective is to bridge the existing gap between Nigeria and the developed countries so as to improve the nation’s international competitiveness,” he added.
Dr. Abel Ezeoha, a development economist at the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, who also presented a paper at the workshop on ‘The Thorny Path to NEPAD Implementation in Nigeria’ noted that before the advent of NEPAD, economic reforms and initiatives were more of national issues. Ezeoha added that apart from a number of some sub-regional efforts, there was no strong economic cooperation among African countries, saying this situation informed the adoption of NEPAD at the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Summit in July 2001.
He stressed that Nigeria currently lacks the requisite social and economic competitiveness necessary to actively participate in and benefit from the different NEPAD priority areas. According to him, “Nigerian entrepreneurs in other African countries do not enjoy the kind of support and protections their South African counterparts enjoy and unlike the case of South Africa, Nigeria is surrounded by Francophone West African neighbours that are more inclined to cooperating with their colonial powers than with their neighbours.” He recommended that for Nigeria, the best policy option should be to devise strategies for overcoming the broader challenges facing NEPAD in the continent; and more specifically, for improving its competitiveness in the region by effectively dealing with the background issues of insecurity, threat of rapid urbanisation, weak governance structure, and threats against Nigerian entrepreneurs operating in other countries.
Ezeoha averred that to do this, the Nigerian government needs to take some strategic steps towards, redefining development partnership in the country, redefining Nigerian economic goal in the region, mainstreaming Nigeria in the NEPAD development initiatives, especially in the areas of infrastructure and agriculture and providing institutionalised and strategic support for Nigeria’s private sector investments in Africa. He suggested that government should facilitate the transformation of NEPAD Nigeria into an institutional structure with requisite legal authority and capacity to push Nigeria’s own development agenda in the region.
Meanwhile, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is yet to impact positively on Nigeria’s economy, especially industrial and infrastructure development. This is after 12 years of its existence. Dr. Ifediora Amobi, the Executive Director of the African Heritage Institution (AfriHeritage), disclosed this during the above named workshop. He noted: “Since its establishment 12 years ago, Nigeria is one of the five founding member countries of NEPAD and one of its highest financial contributors without commensurate benefits to its economy.’’
Dr. Okezie Nwankwo, Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Strategic Research and Studies, National Defence College, Nigeria, who spoke on “NEPAD and the Challenges of Economic Development,” said NEPAD Nigeria lacks specific policies and strategies to monitor and achieve its objectives. According to him NEPAD Nigeria is yet to impact positively in the area of infrastructure development especially in the critical sectors of education and health. Dr. Abel Ezeoha, a development economist at the Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, noted that before the advent of NEPAD, economic reforms and initiatives were more of national issues.
In his paper titled ‘The Thorny Path to NEPAD Implementation in Nigeria,’ he observed that apart from a number of some sub-regional efforts, there was no strong economic cooperation among African countries. He recalled that this situation informed the adoption of NEPAD at the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU) summit in July 2001. According to him, Nigerian entrepreneurs in other African countries do not enjoy the kind of support and protections their South African counterparts enjoy and unlike the case of South Africa, Nigeria is surrounded by Francophone West African neighbours that are more inclined to cooperating with their colonial powers than with their neighbours.
He recommended that for Nigeria, the best policy option should be to devise strategies for overcoming the broader challenges facing NEPAD in the continent; and more specifically, for improving its competitiveness in the region by effectively dealing with the background issues of insecurity, threat of rapid urbanization, weak governance structure, and threats against Nigerian entrepreneurs operating in other countries.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency and the NEPAD Business Foundation (NBF) have signed a memorandum of understanding, aimed at solidifying the relationship between the two organisations. While the NEPAD Agency and the NBF have worked closely since the inception of the NBF in 2004, this agreement marks a new chapter for both organisations, focussing on unlocking the potential for the development of Africa’s private sector. The MOU will enhance business potential within the continent through joint projects by accessing the resources, experience and expertise of both the NEPAD Agency and the NBF. This formal understanding will focus on building the African private sector to facilitate trade, training, skills development, technology and facilitating public private partnerships (PPPs). The latter is one of the most effective ways to undertake infrastructure development in Africa and a number of countries are exploring these vehicles for development.
The continent has demonstrated a high need for infrastructure development to facilitate inter-African trade and to create a conducive environment for international investment. “NEPAD provides unique opportunities for African countries to take full control of their development agenda, to work more closely together, and to cooperate more effectively with international partners,” says Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Agency. The NBF and the NEPAD Agency partnership will encourage project implementation and networking of private, public and civil society organisations to accelerate economic development in Africa. In addition, the NEPAD Agency and the NBF will also promote infrastructure development and regional integration while providing input and support to the continental framework of infrastructure requirements. The concept of development corridors throughout Africa is receiving much needed support from African Heads of State, culminating in President Zuma’s promise to champion Infrastructure development in Africa – focussing specifically on the North South corridor which runs between Durban and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania,” adds Lynette Chen, Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Business Foundation.
Both NEPAD and the NBF have a vast store of experience, information and expertise in a variety of relevant fields, in collaboration with like-minded institutions and business communities. This agreement seeks to improve the coordinated development of Africa’s business environment. “Through the NEPAD Programme, the NEPAD Agency, as the technical development Agency of the African Union, works to improve the lives of families, communities and countries through a range of wealth creation and poverty eradication initiatives that cut across issues of health, agriculture, infrastructure, ICTs, education and other areas of intervention,” says Dr. Mayaki.
“It is in this regard that we welcome this strengthening of partnership with the NBF through the signing of this MOU. We believe that our joint work with the NBF will help us to bring together all the organisations and partners involved in Africa’s private sector – to help them voice their needs and to co-ordinate their work in support of the NEPAD agenda.” In signing this agreement, both organisations have pledged to continue supporting the development of agriculture and food security in Africa for this sector to become a growth driver for the continent. Jointly the NEPAD Agency and the NBF will work to achieve the agriculture goals as defined by the NEPAD Comprehensive Agriculture Advancement Development Programme (CAADP) _framework, where one of the key issues is to advance mechanisms to integrate smallholder farmers into the commercial value chain and provide access to markets.
“This is an exciting opportunity, as the NBF is currently incubating an innovative project that is developing a model that takes into account the vital role of the small farmer and gaining an understanding of their challenges and constraints and then developing models to create these smallholder farmers into viable entrepreneurial businesses,” says Chen. Another joint focus of both organisations will work towards the enhancement of human capacity and skills through the NEPAD Africa-wide Capacity Development Strategic Framework (CDSF) and through the NBF African Leadership Programme which concentrates on enhancing capacity and leadership potential of African top managers from the public and private sectors as well as NGOs.
On a practical level, both organisations will aim to create an enabling environment for effective public private partnerships, including the preparation of bankable investment projects and promoting Africa as an investment destination for foreign funds. “Our joint efforts are based on the consideration that the private sector in Africa can and should take ownership of the development process in Africa,” said Dr. Mayaki.
The NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency acts as the technical body of the African Union, primarily facilitating and coordinating the implementation of Africa’s priority programmes and projects at the regional and continental levels, mobilising partners and resources for the implementation of Africa’s priority programmes/projects, conducting research and knowledge management; monitoring and evaluation of programme/project implementation; and advocating core principles and values of the African Union and the NEPAD Framework. The NBF operates in South Africa with extensive business networks in the Southern African sub-region and the Continent as a whole, driven by the vision to contribute to a vibrant African economy through private sector development, thus positioning the continent as competitive global player. The mission of the NBF is to support the delivery of the NEPAD objectives through the active participation of Africa’s private sector.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is a comprehensive integrated sustainable development initiative for the economic and social revival of Africa. One of the major ways in which African countries could benefit from the activities of NEPAD is through the education sector. NEPAD donated books recently to Nyemoni Grammar School in Rivers State. NEPAD(Rivers state) has donated a total of 653 textbooks, 500 NEPAD-branded notebooks and 15 schoolbags to Nyemoni Grammar School, Abonnema, in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State. The NEPAD Rivers State team, led by the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) Director of NEPAD Rivers State, Mr. Nemi Ibaraye, was received by the French teacher, Miss Patricia Harry, on behalf of the school principal.
Also in the security sector, NEPAD extends a Hand of Friendship to Rivers State Police Command. NEPAD Rivers State paid an advocacy visit to the Rivers State Police Headquarters, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, on Monday the 12th of May, 2014. Rivers State Governor and former chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has called on Rivers people and those doing business to partner with his administration to create a conducive economic environment that would boost wealth creation and reduce poverty in the State. Amaechi spoke at the 2013 Rivers State Summit on Wealth Creation and Poverty Reduction, an initiative of NEPAD and the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency with the theme, “Developing an Effective Comprehensive Framework for Wealth Creation and Poverty Reduction” in Port Harcourt.
In the health sector, The ECOWAS also signed the Malaria Elimination Agreement with Rivers State. ECOWAS and the Government of Rivers State have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the construction of a factory to produce anti-mosquito biolarvicides under the ECOWAS Malaria elimination campaign. The NEPAD Green Initiatives in Rivers State presently has five Green Initiatives aimed to ameliorate the impact of climate change on Rivers State while providing avenues for the management of its natural resources.
Furthermore, NEPAD Rivers State Organized an HIV Awareness Campaign in Rivers state University(RSUST). NEPAD Rivers State organized a one-day HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, tagged “Know Your Status Today.” The campaign was held at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt, on Thursday the 12th of December, 2013. Also, NEPAD Rivers State Proposes a development of a Theme Park. The NEPAD Rivers State Tourism Initiative promotes sustainable urban and rural development as a catalyst for wealth creation and employment generation.
For best contribution, it will be important that development initiatives under any component of the NEPAD framework be supportive of or compatible with agriculture, given its fundamental role in economic development in Africa. For example, NEPAD’s activities on good governance, infrastructure, policy reform, human resources development etc., all help to create an enabling environment for farmers to contribute more to Africa’s economic development. In short, agriculture must be the engine for overall economic growth in Africa.
However, there should be no illusion of quick fixes, or miracle paths, towards African self-reliance in food and agriculture. Achievement of a productive and profitable agricultural / agro-industrial sector will require Africa to address a complex set of challenges which includes low internal effective demand due to poverty, poor and un-remunerative external markets (with declining and unstable world commodity prices and severe competition from the subsidised farm products of industrial countries, vagaries of climate and consequent risk that deters investment, limited access to technology and low human capacity to adopt new skills etc.
Thisday life newspaper ( 16 Dec 2013) edition,
Vanguard news (December 18, 2013) edition