Partnership for African Development and Socio – Economic Development In Africa



NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT (NEPAD) AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN AFRICA: A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT

Development, conceptualized as qualitative improvement in the living standard of the people is measured in the availability of basic necessities like food, water, shelter, other local amenities as well as sophisticated and vibrant institutions and structures of the state.

These indices of development and more are not yet available in sufficiency in Africa upon independence. The emergent African States sought to no avail for development, reason the likes of president Arap Mri tend to believe that “Africa is doomed to perpetual poverty and backwardness”.  

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The report of world economic forum (2001) in Africa also echoed the problem associated with African development. It noted that it’s a mixture of economic and political news in Africa. Whereas Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda leads the light of countries making adjustments to their economic potentials so as to attract foreign investments, the likes of Liberia, Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, leads a greater pack of others still mired in conflict that they may simply be qualified as “failed states.” Africans having come alive in this millennium become confronted with the question of seeking a solution to the African development malaise.

The opinion of the World Economic Forum panelists comprising of William Rhodes, Jeffrey Sachs, Alex Erwin, Reginald Mergi, Mostapha Bello, and others was for African economies to develop. There should be a working relationship between the private and public sectors. William Rhodes held in particular that the problem with African economics is that the private sectors are not aware of the advances being made in Africa William Rhodes is also the vice Chairman Citigroup, U.S.A. In the same way, Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the center for international development at Harvard University, U.S.A. while trying to rate African economies drew attention to Zimbabwe as a good example of how politics can destroy economy. He advised that the solution to African underdevelopment will come from improvement in the political situations; improvements come to countries with political breakthrough …, he argued.

Olusegun Obasanjo, one of the pioneer leaders and brain behind the new partnership for Africa’s Development initiative (NEPAD) believes that the initiative remains the best solution to Africa development problem. The Nigerian leader held that the NEPAD programme is the engine of growth for Africa’s economy and development. He was quite optimistic that NEPAD is a programme of African Union (AU) to resolve all the problem of Africa in politics, social and economics. It is a collective vision of Africans and their leaders to ensure development in Africa as well as make contributions to global wealth.

Steve Egbo also wrote that NEPAD is generally seen as a true African initiative borne out of genuine desire to move the African countries away from the encumbrances and impediments of the past. He added that the NEPAD project is believed to be motivated by a new spirit of growth and development whose aim is to usher in a new dawn for African continent that has been in perpetual darkness for thousands of years.

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Crusoe Osagie was as well optimistic that NEPAD will eradicate poverty in Africa, and place African countries both individually and collectively as a path of sustainable growth and development of Africa in the globalization process. He noted in particular that the formulation of the NEPAD action is one of the most important developments of recent times in Africa. He hopes that it places African at the apex of global agenda.

Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s deputy president also announced that NEPAD has come to rescue the continent from her economic travails.

In attempt to draw up support for the NEPAD programme, the Zambia leader, levy Mwanawasa asked business leaders in Africa to board the NEPAD train and not want to be invited abroad. He was particularly mindful of the fact that Africans are tired of relations from their leaders and wanted NEPAD to be transformed into implementable projects that ordinary people could identify with.

Africa leaders as well endorsed the programme at the African Economic Summit held in Durban South Africa, the leaders reinstated the already well-known position that NEPAD is a programme to uplift Africa and provide African solutions to African problems.

As well the summit of O.A.U. head of states and government in Lusaka Zambia while adopting the NEPAD action plan in declaration 1 was very optimistic since NEPAD has become Africa’s principal Agenda for development and providing a holistic, comprehensive, integrated strategic framework for the socio-economic development of the continent within the institutional frame work of African Union (AU),

In a message delivered through Ibrahim Gambari, the head of United Nations (UN) office for NEPAD, the UN secretary General Koffi Annan, told NEPAD BUSINESS group meeting held in Abuja (Nigeria) that the UN General Assembly has accepted NEPAD as a frame work for achieving support for the development of Africa.

The former British minister of state for foreign affairs and overseas, development Baroness Lynda Chalker while endorsing NEPAD described it as probably the most exciting initiative to come to Africa, she however tasked African governments on the successful implementation of the initiative. She stressed the success or failure of the programme will wholly depend on how it is implemented in the established regional economic groupings like ECOWAS, SADC, etc. She reiterated that the implementation of the initiative. While describing NEPAD as a great initiative, she appreciated in particular the response of ECOWAS to the programme. Narrowing her view to Nigeria, chalker, Challenged Nigeria to start her demonstrative roles in the domestic front. Because she is conversant with the socio-economic situation in Nigeria, she was frank in advising that “how Nigeria handled the development of her people(s) and institutions will send a strong message to her neighbors and the rest of the world.

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Ato Meles Zanawi, the Ethiopian president while making a presentation on the occasion of African Development Bank (ADB) symposium provided explanation to the foreign partnership in NEPAD. He said … there is new partnership between Africa and the rest of the world with the objective of African development. He confirmed that the world “NEW” is significant in the sense that the old partnership was not a partnership at all as it was based on donor and recipient relationship, but the one of NEPAD is real and based on a new premised of common interest and objective.

The head of Nigeria NEPAD Business Group, Gordie Ibru also announced in the Abuja meeting that Nigerian NEPAD is seeking partnership between government and governments, countries and countries and most importantly a partnership between African and international economy (IE).

On the domestic economy of Nigeria, the NEPAD Business Group was emphatic in tasking the Obasanjo led government to understand that development is impossible in the absence of true democracy, respect for human right, peace and good governance. They remaindered the government that it should be mindful of the fact that with NEPAD Africa has undertaken to respect global standard of democracy, the core components of which include political pluralism i.e allowing for the existence of several political parties and groups, worker union, fair and open democratic elections periodically organized to enable people choose who will lead them.

On how to reposition the country to achieve a competitive edge, the forum suggested that the country should pursue policies that will give her sustainable:

  • Industrial competitive, edge
  • Pursue joint ventures, training and secondments
  • Rationalize tariffs and taxes
  • On agriculture, the group opined that the country need to:
    1. Focus on crops where she has comparative advantage
    2. Development industrial zones and clusters
    3. Intensify research and development, etc.
  • On finance a friendly micro or macro finance policies will do
  • Entrepreneurship should be taught in schools.

The country should foster regional co-operations as a key to growth in her economic relations.

Jeffrey Sachs gave a catch of optimism when he asserted that African’s most populous country (Nigeria) has a real chance of turning around. The concern of most Nigerians now, I believe, is that irrespective that the NEPAD initiative provides Nigeria the base for something historic to happen, it is still not happening.

Drawing from president Arap Moi’s position, the initial setback to the NEPAD initiative would be how to let us out the encumbrances of the past, especially when the continent conceived herself as failed continent as well as the states.

South African Finance Ministry, Trevour mantel, noted that the key issue of challenge to the NEPAD initiative and its implementation as well as success would be how to persuade African who holds an estimated 40% (fourty percentage) of their savings abroad to invest in their own countries. He opined that we are starting with a large deficit in respect of African savings. This triggers issues of confidence which interfere with our ability to attract capital.

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So also did revel Khoda, the chairman of South Africa power utility. He held that for NEPAD to be successful the action plan should act as catalyst for not only attracting the citizens to invest in their economy, but should be able to deliver cross border physical infrastructural development. He stressed the need for long-rang planning to meet individual country and regional requirements. In this case there is the need to review existing protocols harmonize regulations and stands; also work along business lines with budgets and time frames.

Thabo Mbeki, the South African leader admonished also, that the peer review mechanism designed to assure strict adherence to the tenets of NEPAD through constant review by fellow head of states and governments should not be misconstrued by individual countries as interference in their internal affairs but as a way of working together to identify and correct common weaknesses and mistakes. He acknowledged the fact that there will be mistakes and reversals;… we have never walked in this path before he declared. Nigerian president, Obasanjo also declared that we (comity of head of states) are imposing standards of governance on ourselves because we know that there are no alternatives. If we fail, we can only blame our selves “so we cannot allow NEPAD to fail…”

Kofi Annan, united Nations (UN) secretary general also believes that NEPAD is a solid foundation for a healthy Africa but it requires lots of hard work from the leader of Africa and Africans. He insists, Africa must be alive to her responsibilities if she will successfully wage the battle at hand, we will have to have the stamina and iron political will to make a success of the battle. The goal of NEPAD must be pursued to fruition “weather any one gives us money or not” he insists.

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