HANYA: A journal for activists No: 1 August 2002
A Summary of the
New Partnership
For Africa’s
By Saliem Patel and Leon Pretorius *
ver the last few months the media has been
dominated by developments around the
New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(Nepad). Led by South Africa, African heads of
states have gone on an intense publicity campaign
to sell Nepad, fi rst to western governments and
multilateral institutions, and belatedly to the
African public. On the other hand, civil society
organisations, human rights activists and anti-
globalisation campaigners have criticised the plan.
But what is Nepad, and how did it come about.
How Did Nepad Come About.
Nepad is the renaming of the New African Initiative
in Abuja (November 2001). The New African
Initiative (NAI) is a merger of the Millenium Africa
Recovery Plan (MAP)’ and the ‘OMEGA PLAN’ for
continental economic recovery – symbolizing the
merger between Anglophone (English speaking)
and Francophone (French speaking) Africa.
The Omega Plan
Senegal’s president, Abdoulaye Wade, developed
the Omega Plan following a discussion at the OAU
summit in Lome in September 2000. At this summit
African heads of states argued that globalisation
was not reaping the expected rewards for Africa.
The prime objective of Omega was to ensure that
Africa catches up with developed countries. This,
according to Wade, should occur through a long-
term injection of foreign capital into four particular
areas - infrastructure, education, health and
agriculture – which would make Africa attractive
to foreign investors. Wade suggested capital for this
project should come from multilateral and private
fi nancial institutions, and should be interest free
for fi fty years. He recommended that two-thirds of
the fi nance be awarded to companies coming from
developed countries and one-third to companies
based in Africa involved in the four sectors outlined.
The Millennium Africa Plan
The MAP was drawn up by a team of African
and international economists under the auspices
of a six–member steering committee headed
by Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu from South Africa.
Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa each sent two
representatives to this committee. The aim of MAP
was to further integrate Africa into the global
economy, to reduce the outfl ow of capital and
increase its infl ow. It also sought the reduction
of debt and the increase of development aid.
President Mbeki and South African ministers
sought support for MAP from the governments of
major industrialised countries and the multilateral
institutions. These countries included the United
States, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Norway,
Denmark and others. The plan is also supported
by international organizations like the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund. President Mbeki
and members of the government have since been
involved in a campaign to build support for Nepad
among leading governments and multilateral
institutions. In 2001 the Omega plan and the MAP
were merged to produce the New Africa Initiative,
which was adopted by African heads of state in
Abuja, in July 2001. In November 2001 NAI was
renamed Nepad.
An Overview: What is NEPAD.
Nepad comprises of eight sections, including the
introduction and conclusion. Section two locates
Africa in the world today, section three looks at the
role of African leaders, section four puts forward
a strategy for sustainable development, section
fi ve provides a programme of action, section six
discusses the new global partnership, and section
seven says how Nepad will be implemented.
The overriding sentiment of Nepad is that it is
an agenda owned and managed by Africans and
that a new global partnership needs to be created
in which African people shape their own destiny.
Nepad argues that the process of globalisation
provides the opportunity for economic growth
and poverty reduction. Nepad is based on a three-
pronged strategy, and a programme of action backs
each of these prongs.
1. Creating preconditions for development
The preconditions for development are the
promotion of peace, democracy, human rights
Saliem Patel and Leon Pretorius give a brief
summary of NEPAD.
A Summary of NEPAD
HANYA: A journal for activists No: 1 August 2002
and sound economic management. These
preconditions require the strengthening of the
weak states in Africa. Regional cooperation and
integration in Africa will create the opportunity for
increased trade and investment as well as improve
international competitiveness through the pooling
of African resources.
The programme of action for creating
preconditions for development is made up of
three integrated initiatives - a peace and security
initiative, a democracy and governance initiative
as well as the economic and corporate governance
initiative. The peace and security initiative focuses
on confl ict prevention, peacekeeping and combating
the proliferation of small arms and landmines.
The democracy and governance initiative focuses
on promoting ‘good governance’. The economic
and corporate governance initiative is focused
on improving the quality of economic and public
fi nancial management
2. Focus on priority issues
The second prong of the strategy is to focus
on priority issues to prevent the further
marginalisation of Africa and lay the basis for
sustainable development in the long term. These
include: improving infrastructure; extension of
information and communications technology;
enhancing human development, health, education,
culture and lastly restructuring agriculture and
manufacturing, as well as negotiating greater
market access to ensure the diversifi cation of
production and exports.
The programme of action for the second
prong focuses on four priority areas: the human
resource development initiative, the infrastructure
initiative, the diversifi cation of production and
export initiative, and the market access initiative.
The human resource development initiative
focuses on improving education and health, and on
poverty reduction. In the case of poverty reduction
Nepad adopts the programmes of multilateral
institutions like the World Bank. The infrastructure
initiative focuses on areas like information and
communications technology, energy, transport and
water and sanitation.
The diversifi cation of production and exports
initiative identifi es actions to be taken in sectors
like agriculture, mining, manufacturing and
tourism. In this initiative the aims are to harmonise
policies between African countries, improve
standards and competitiveness, ensure capacity
building and co-operation between countries,
support business organizations and domestic
business. The market access initiative attempts to
gain common perspectives on Africa’s role in the
WTO, specifi cally to ensure more market access
to developed countries, and to promote African
goods internationally. It also speaks of further
liberalization and the reduction of export taxes
3. Mobilise Resources
The third prong of the strategy is to mobilise
resources through creating conditions that promote
private sector investment, reduce capital fl ight, and
bring in foreign investors. In addition, effective tax
collection will help mobilize national resources.
The reduction of African debt will reduce outfl ows,
and there is a need to reverse the decline in
development aid.
The programme of action consists of the capital
fl ows initiative, which is made up of three specifi c
areas: the debt initiative, the ODA initiative and
the private capital fl ows initiative. There are
recommendations for overcoming investors’ “high
risk” perception of the continent, for debt servicing
to be fi xed as a proportion of fi scal revenue, and for
African countries to develop a common position
on ODA. The second element of mobilizing
resources is the environment initiative, where the
environment is seen in terms of ‘exceptional good
returns on investment’.
Global Partnership and implementation
Section 6 of Nepad deals with the formation of a
New Global Partnership. The objective is to ensure
that Africa is recognised for the contribution it has
made and continues to make in the world. In line
with this, Nepad endorses programmes of various
developed countries and multilateral institutions
and hopes to make them work together so that
Africa’s recovery can be speeded up. Some of these
partnerships are those with institutions like the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Section 7 deals with the implementation
of the Nepad. It attempts to prioritize certain
programmes (communicable diseases, information
and communication technology, debt reduction,
market access) and projects (agriculture, private
sector promotion, infrastructure and regional
integration). It also suggests that a clear needs and
capacity assessment be made of African countries
and establishes a directing mechanism of the
African initiative. The Heads of State Forum will
be the directing mechanism and will advise the
African Union on appropriate mechanisms for
implementing Nepad.
* Saliem Patel is a researcher at the Labour Research
Services in Cape Town and Leon Pretorious is a
researcher at the School of Governance, at the
University of the Western Cape.
A Summary of NEPAD