Historical Overview

A: BACKGROUND:

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is a holistic, integrated sustainable development initiative for the economic and social revival of Africa involving a constructive partnership between Africa and the developed world. It is a pledge by African leaders, based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development and, at the same time, to participate actively in the world economy and body politic.

The initiative is anchored on the determination of Africans to extricate themselves and the continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion in a globalising world. It is a call for a new relationship of partnership between Africa and the international community to overcome the development chasm. The partnership is to be founded on a realisation of common interest, obligations, commitments, benefit and equality.

The initiative is premised on African states making commitments to good governance, democracy and human rights, while endeavouring to prevent and resolve situations of conflict and instability on the continent. Coupled to these efforts to create conditions conducive for investment, growth and development are initiatives to raise the necessary resources to address the development chasm in critical sectors that are highlighted in the Programme of Action, such as infrastructure, education, health, agriculture and ICT. Resources will be mobilised by way of increasing savings and capital inflows via further debt relief, increased targeted ODA flows and private capital. There will be an emphasis on the better management of public revenue and expenditure. The founding document of the NEPAD contains both a strategic policy framework and a Programme of Action.

The NEPAD offers a historic opportunity for the advanced countries of the world to enter into a genuine partnership with Africa, based on mutual interests and benefit, shared commitment and binding agreement, under African leadership. In proposing the partnership, Africa recognises that it holds the key to its own development. The adoption of a development strategy, together with a detailed programme of action marks the beginning of a new phase in the partnership and cooperation between Africa and the developed world, including multilateral organisations.

B: RATIONALE FOR THE NEPAD:

The idea of developing a new Agenda for African Recovery dates back to 1999. President T Mbeki, President O Obasanjo and President A Bouteflika, as leaders of three major organisations representing the interests of Africa and the South, found themselves in a unique position to put Africa's case to the global community.

They realised that Africa has been reacting for too long to ideas and offers of support from the rest of the world, without developing and articulating its own vision and programme of action. Africa has produced a variety of initiatives and programmes of action in the past, in particular the Lagos Plan of Action and the Abuja Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community. However, for a variety of reasons, including timing, a lack of capacity and resources, a lack of political will and the interference of outside interests in the Cold War era, the plans failed in their implementation.

A convergence of favourable circumstances within the continent and internationally provides the ideal opportunity now to take the existing plans, eg for economic integration, forward within the context of a new initiative developed by Africans for Africans. Faced with the challenge of addressing poverty and underdevelopment, both in their respective countries and on the continent, and with demands to address world forums on African issues, the Presidents resolved to request the OAU to mandate them to prepare a comprehensive development programme that could serve as a foundation for the regeneration of the continent and the forging of a new partnership with the rest of the world, more specifically the industrialised countries and multilateral organisations.

This would be a programme that went beyond debt reduction, which was the immediate trigger for the initiative. The end result is the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).

C. PROCESS OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE FINAL INITIATIVE:

The mandate for the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme (MAP) had its genesis at the OAU Extraordinary Summit held in Sirte, Libya during September 1999. The Summit mandated President T Mbeki of South Africa and President A Bouteflika of Algeria to engage Africa's creditors on the total cancellation of Africa's external debt. Following this, the South Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement and the G77, held in Havana, Cuba during April 2000, mandated President Mbeki and President O Obasanjo to convey the concerns of the South to the G8 and the Bretton Woods institutions.

Realising the correlation between the two mandates and the fact that debt relief forms but one critical aspect of the overall development agenda for Africa, the OAU Summit held in Togo in July 2000 mandated the three Presidents to engage the developed North with a view to developing a constructive partnership for the regeneration of the Continent. Following from this, the three Presidents raised the issue of a partnership with the leaders of the G8 at their Summit in Japan during July 2000. The work on developing the MAP then began in earnest and a process of engagement on a bilateral and multilateral level was pursued. For example, a presentation on MAP was made to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2001.

The first concept paper was prepared by President Mbeki and was approved by the other two Presidents in September 2000. A Steering Committee was appointed to develop a more detailed proposal immediately thereafter. Each President appointed two members to the Steering Committee in October 2000. After a number of consultations with the three Presidents regarding an evaluation of past and current development agendas for Africa, the Steering Committee produced a Policy Framework document, Draft 3 (a), in February 2001.

Draft 3 (a) was both a vision statement and an outline of a Programme of Action for the political, social and economic recovery of the African continent. It argued the case for the initiative, its timing and its strategic focus, as well as outlining actions, duties and responsibilities for African leaders on the one hand and for industrialised countries on the other. The next four months were then devoted to the preparation of a detailed Programme of Action.
The OMEGA Plan was conceived by President A Wade and was first presented at the Franco-Africa Summit in Yaounde, Cameroon in January 2001. It was then also presented at the OAU Extraordinary Summit in Sirte in March 2001. The three original MAP Presidents became aware of the Omega Plan for the first time at the World Economic Forum in Davos on 30 January 2001. The OMEGA Plan is premised on four central pillars, dealing with the building of infrastructures, including the new technologies of information and communication (ICT), education and human resource development, health and agriculture.

At the 8th Session of the African Ministers of Finance in Addis Ababa in November 2000, the Executive Secretary of the ECA, Mr KY Amoako, was tasked with developing a Compact for Africa's Renewal. The document that he produced was then presented and discussed at the Conference of African Ministers of Finance in Algiers, Algeria from 8 to 10 May 2001. The ECA New Global Compact with Africa discusses operationalising the MAP and is comprised of six Chapters.

During the 5th Extraordinary Summit of the OAU held in Sirte, Libya from 1 to 2 March 2001, President Obasanjo made a presentation on the MAP and President Wade of Senegal presented the OMEGA Plan. The work being done by the four Presidents, ie Presidents Mbeki, Obasanjo, Bouteflika and Wade, was endorsed and it was decided that every effort should be made to integrate all the initiatives being pursued for the recovery and development of Africa. In reaching this decision, the Summit recognised the synergy and complementarity that existed between the various initiatives. In the final analysis, Africa has to present a single, coordinated plan to its international cooperating partners. To have more than one initiative will be confusing to Africa's partners, will undermine credibility and will inevitably lead to a splitting of scarce resources, focus and capacity.

The Conference in Algiers of 8-10 May 2001 discussed above represented the first step in carrying forward the mandate for integration given by the Extraordinary Summit in Sirte in March 2001. Apart from the ECA Compact, the MAP and the OMEGA Plan were also discussed and the Ministers urged the experts of the three initiatives to work together to achieve the merger and consolidation.

Following this, a meeting of experts from nine African states, as well as the MAP Steering Committee, was held in Abuja, Nigeria from 2 to 4 June 2001. Immediately following the Extraordinary Summit in Sirte, Senegal and Egypt were included on the Steering Committee, along with South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria. At the Abuja meeting, Gabon, Mali, Tanzania and Mozambique were also invited to attend. The Abuja meeting discussed the issue of merger in general, while the majority of the meeting was utilised to further develop the MAP Programme of Action. Input papers were provided by a number of states under each of the 8 Themes and these were extensively workshopped to arrive at a consolidated background paper per Theme. A Theme on Environment was also added.

An integration team was assembled at the Development Bank of Southern Africa following the Abuja meeting. The task of this team was to produce a comprehensive, coherent plan from the papers and positions developed at the Abuja Workshop, which they did.
Furthermore, a meeting was held in Dakar, Senegal from 11-13 June where the final details of the OMEGA Plan were discussed. A broad spectrum of the Senegalese public and private sectors was represented at the meeting, as well as a number of countries, including South Africa, and multilateral organisations. President Bouteflika sent a Special Envoy to the meeting, his Minister for African Affairs, to further develop the process of merging the various initiatives.

Following this, the MAP Steering Committee held a meeting in Cairo, Egypt from 18 to 21 June. Apart from the five core Steering Committee states, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda and Libya also attended the meeting. The aim of the Cairo meeting was to finalise the MAP Programme of Action documents and also to discuss the merger of the MAP and the OMEGA Plan into one consolidated initiative. Most of the discussion at the meeting centred on the MAP Theme documents.

Good progress was made in finalising these Programme of Action documents. The meeting agreed that there must be a two-page summary of each of the MAP Programme of Action Theme papers. The Programme of Action is designed to give effect to the strategic framework outlined in the MAP Draft 3 (a) document. The question of the MAP/OMEGA integration was discussed on the last day, and Senegal repeated their assertion that they were fully in favour of the merger of the two documents. A framework and process for the integration was agreed upon to guide the drafting and integration team, dealing with the work at the conceptual, sectoral and structural levels.

The integration process continued again after the Cairo meeting and culminated in the production of the MAP Final Draft 3 (b) on 29 June. The executive summaries arising from Cairo were utilised to produce this document, consisting of a framework and the key priorities and programmes. Finally, a meeting of the five core MAP Steering Committee countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal and Egypt) was held in Pretoria, South Africa on 2 and 3 July 2001. The OAU and the ECA were also invited and the ECA Executive Secretary himself attended. MAP Final Draft 3 (b) was presented to the meeting. Following much vigorous debate, the meeting was successful in finalising a common, coordinated and integrated document for presentation to the OAU Summit in Lusaka, Zambia (9-11 July).

The document, entitled A New African Initiative: Merger of the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme and the Omega Plan (NAI) was unanimously approved by the members of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee formally presented the consolidated initiative to the five initiating Presidents and their representatives in Lusaka on 9 July 2001. The presentation was preceded by a consultative meeting between President Mbeki and President Wade in Pretoria on 7 July and a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the five Steering Committee states was held in Lusaka on 8 July to discuss the finalised common initiative and the procedure for introducing the document to the Summit.

On 11 July 2001, the NAI was presented to the OAU Summit of Heads of State and Government in Lusaka, Zambia. It was enthusiastically received and was unanimously adopted by the Summit in the form of Declaration 1 (XXXVII) of the Summit. In the post-Lusaka period, an extensive programme to lobby support for the initiative has been undertaken. This began with the UN ECOSOC Ministerial meeting on 16 July in Geneva, the G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy on 20 July, and the SADC Summit in August in Blantyre, Malawi. It was also a crosscutting agenda item during the World Conference Against Racism in September in Durban, South Africa.
Engagement with key continental and international cooperating partners will be ongoing, in particular with the AU, the REC's, the G8, the EU, the UNO, and the Bretton Woods institutions. Synergies and linkages will be consciously established with all existing processes and initiatives on the continent, eg the TICAD and Sino-Africa initiatives.

Finally, the first meeting of the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee, as mandated at the OAU Summit in Lusaka to drive the process forward, met in Abuja, Nigeria on 23 October 2001. The Committee, comprising Nigeria, South Africa, Algeria, Senegal, Egypt, Mozambique, Botswana, Tunisia, Mali, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Gabon and Cameroon, finalised a name for the initiative, namely the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and the definitive text.

NEPAD replaces NAI, which was merely intended to be a working title for the purposes of the OAU Summit. Furthermore, the Committee finalised the management structures for NEPAD, consisting of the Implementation Committee, which will meet three times a year and must report annually to the AU Summit, a Steering Committee, comprising personal representatives of the five initiating Presidents and a Secretariat, to be based in South Africa. The Committee also identified a list of five priorities that are to be pursued in the short term to their next meeting. This meeting marks the start of the critical implementation phase of the initiative.

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