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New Partnership for Africa's Development

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The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) is an economic development program of the African Union (AU). NEPAD was adopted by the AU at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia. NEPAD aims to provide an overarching vision and policy framework for accelerating economic co-operation and integration among African countries.

Origins and function[edit]

NEPAD is a merger of two plans for the economic regeneration of Africa: the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme (MAP), led by Former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa in conjunction with Former President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria; and the OMEGA Plan for Africa developed by President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal. At a summit in Sirte, Libya, March 2001, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) agreed that the MAP and OMEGA Plans should be merged.[1]

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) developed a "Compact for Africa’s Recovery" based on both these plans and on resolutions on Africa adopted by the United Nations Millennium Summit in September 2000, and submitted a merged document to the Conference of African Ministers of Finance and Ministers of Development and Planning in Algiers, May 2001.[2]

In July 2001, the OAU Assembly of Heads of State and Government meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, adopted this document under the name of the New African Initiative (NAI). The leaders of G8 countries endorsed the plan on July 20, 2001; and other international development partners, including the European Union, China, and Japan also made public statements indicating their support for the program. The Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) for the project finalized the policy framework and named it the New Partnership for Africa's Development on 23 October 2001. NEPAD is now a program of the African Union (AU) that has replaced the OAU in 2002, though it has its own secretariat based in South Africa to coordinate and implement its programmes.

NEPAD's four primary objectives are: to eradicate poverty, promote sustainable growth and development, integrate Africa in the world economy, and accelerate the empowerment of women. It is based on underlying principles of a commitment to good governance, democracy, human rights and conflict resolution; and the recognition that maintenance of these standards is fundamental to the creation of an environment conducive to investment and long-term economic growth. NEPAD seeks to attract increased investment, capital flows and funding, providing an African-owned framework for development as the foundation for partnership at regional and international levels.

In July 2002, the Durban AU summit supplemented NEPAD with a Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance. According to the Declaration, states participating in NEPAD ‘believe in just, honest, transparent, accountable and participatory government and probity in public life’. Accordingly, they ‘undertake to work with renewed determination to enforce’, among other things, the rule of law; the equality of all citizens before the law; individual and collective freedoms; the right to participate in free, credible and democratic political processes; and adherence to the separation of powers, including protection for the independence of the judiciary and the effectiveness of parliaments.

The Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance also committed participating states to establish an African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) to promote adherence to and fulfilment of its commitments. The Durban summit adopted a document setting out the stages of peer review and the principles by which the APRM should operate; further core documents were adopted at a meeting in Abuja in March 2003, including a Memorandum of Understanding to be signed by governments wishing to undertake the peer review.

Current status[edit]

Ever since it was set up there has been some tension over the place of NEPAD within the African Union, given its origins outside the AU, and the continuing dominant role of South Africa—symbolised by the location of the secretariat in South Africa.

Successive AU summits and meetings of the HSGIC have proposed the greater integration of NEPAD into the AU's structures and processes. In March 2007 there was a "brainstorming session" on NEPAD held in Algeria at which the future of NEPAD and its relationship with the AU was discussed by an ad hoc committee of heads of state. The committee again recommended the fuller integration of NEPAD with the AU.[3] In April 2008, a review summit of five heads of state—Presidents Mbeki of South Africa, Wade of Senegal, Bouteflika of Algeria, Mubarak of Egypt and Yar'Adua of Nigeria—met in Senegal with a mandate to consider the progress in implementing NEPAD and report to the next AU summit to be held in Egypt in July 2008.[4]


The HSGIC to which the NEPAD secretariat reports comprises three states for each region of the African Union, with former President Obasanjo (Nigeria) as elected chair, and Presidents Bouteflika (Algeria) and Wade (Senegal) as deputy chairmen. The HSGIC meets several times a year and reports to the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government.

There is also a Steering Committee, comprising 20 AU member states, to oversee the development of policies, programs and projects -this committee reports to the HSGIC.

The NEPAD Secretariat, now the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, is based in Midrand, South Africa. The first CEO was Wiseman Nkuhlu of South Africa (2001–2005), and the second Mozambican Firmino Mucavele (2005–2008). On April 1, 2009, Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki accepted the position as the 3rd CEO.[5]

The NEPAD Secretariat is not responsible for the implementation of development programs itself, but works with the African Regional Economic Communities— the building blocks of the African Union.[6] The role of the NEPAD Secretariat is one of coordination and resource mobilisation.

Many individual African states have also established national NEPAD structures responsible for liaison with the continental initiatives on economic reform and development programs.



The eight priority areas of NEPAD are: political, economic and corporate governance; agriculture; infrastructure; education; health; science and technology; market access and tourism; and environment.

During the first few years of its existence, the main task of the NEPAD Secretariat and key supporters was the popularisation of NEPAD's key principles, as well as the development of action plans for each of the sectoral priorities. NEPAD also worked to develop partnerships with international development finance institutions—including the World Bank, G8, European Commission, UNECA and others—and with the private sector.[7]

After this initial phase, more concrete programs were developed, including:

  • The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), aimed at assisting the launching of a 'green revolution' in Africa, based on a belief in the key role of agriculture in development. To monitor its progress, the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System was created.[8]
  • The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), which comprises numerous trans-boundary infrastructure projects in the four sectors transport, energy, water and ICT, aimed at boosting intra-African trade and interconnecting the continent.
  • The NEPAD Science and Technology programme, including an emphasis on research in areas such as water science and energy.
  • The "e-schools programme", adopted by the HSGIC in 2003 as an initiative to equip all 600,000 primary and secondary schools in Africa with IT equipment and internet access within 10 years, in partnership with several large IT companies. See NEPAD E-School program
  • The launch of a Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) by the Public Investment Corporation of South Africa, to finance high priority cross-border infrastructure projects.
  • Capacity building for continental institutions, working with the African Capacity Building Foundation, the Southern Africa Trust, UNECA, the African Development Bank, and other development partners. One of NEPAD's priorities has been to strengthen the capacity of and linkages among the Regional Economic Communities.
  • NEPAD was involved with the Timbuktu Manuscripts Project although it is not entirely clear to what extent.


NEPAD was initially met with a great deal of scepticism from much of civil society in Africa as playing into the 'Washington Consensus' model of economic development. In July 2002, members of some 40 African social movements, trade unions, youth and women's organizations, NGOs, religious organizations and others endorsed the African Civil Society Declaration on NEPAD[9] rejecting NEPAD; a similar hostile view was taken by African scholars and activist intellectuals in the 2002 Accra Declaration on Africa's Development Challenges.[10]

Part of the problem in this rejection was that the process by which NEPAD was adopted was insufficiently participatory—civil society was almost totally excluded from the discussions by which it came to be adopted.[citation needed]

More recently, NEPAD has also been criticised by some of its initial backers, including notably Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, who accused NEPAD of wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and achieving nothing.[11] Like many other intergovernmental bodies, NEPAD suffers from slow decision-making,[12] and a relatively poorly resourced and often cumbersome implementing framework. The great lack of information about the day-to-day activities of the NEPAD secretariat—the website is notably uninformative—does not help its case.[13]

However, the program has also received some acceptance from those who were initially very critical, and, in general, has seen its status become less controversial as it becomes more established and its programs become more concrete. The aim of promoting greater regional integration and trade among African states is welcomed by many, even as the fundamental macroeconomic principles NEPAD endorses remain contested.[14]

See also[edit]


  • The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD): An Initial Commentary by Ravi Kanbur, Cornell University
  • Nepad’s APRM: A Progress Report, Practical Limitations and Challenges, by Ayesha Kajee
  • "Fanon's Warning: A Civil Society Reader on the New Partnership for Africa's Development", edited by Patrick Bond, Africa World Press, 2002
  • "The New Partnership for Africa's Development: Challenges and Developments", Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria), 2003
  • "NEPAD: A New Path?" edited by Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, Aseghedech Ghirmazion and Davinder Lamba, Heinrich Boell Foundation, 2002
  • "The African Union, NEPAD, and Human Rights: The Missing Agenda" by Bronwen Manby, Human Rights Quarterly - Volume 26, Number 4, November 2004, pp. 983–1027
  • "Economic Policy and Conflict in Africa" in Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, Vol.2, No.1, 2004; pp. 6–20
  • "Pan-Africa: The NEPAD formula" by Sarah Coleman, World Press Review July 2002 v49 i7 p29(1)
  • "Bring Africa out of the margins", The Christian Science Monitor July 5, 2002 p10


  1. ^ [1] Archived 26 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ [2] Archived 26 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Conclusions and Recommendations of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee (HSGIC) Meeting and Brainstorming on NEPAD, Algiers, Algeria[permanent dead link], NEPAD Secretariat, 21 March 2007.
  4. ^ Bathandwa Mbola, "NEPAD summit to discuss global challenges facing Africa" Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, BuaNews (SA govt), 15 April 2008
  5. ^ "E Ebrahim receives credentials from Nepad Secretariat CEO". Info.gov.za. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2011.
  6. ^ The Regional Economic Communities recognised by the AU are: The Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD -- operational in the horn of Africa), and the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU).
  7. ^ For a discussion of NEPAD's challenges and achievements, see NEPAD: a look at seven years of achievement – and the challenges on the way forward[permanent dead link], an address by Prof. Wiseman Nkuhlu, a former Chief Executive of NEPAD, delivered at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, published in NEPAD Dialogue (NEPAD Secretariat), 25 January 2008.
  8. ^ "About | ReSAKSS". www.resakss.org. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  9. ^ African Civil Society Declaration on NEPAD Archived 14 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine African Civil Society Declaration on NEPAD.
  10. ^ Accra Declaration Archived 30 September 2005 at the Wayback Machine Declaration on Africa's Development Challenges. Adopted at end of Joint CODESRIA-TWN-AFRICA Conference on Africa's Development Challenges in the Millennium, Accra 23–26 April 2002.
  11. ^ Senegal president slams Nepad IOL June 14, 2007.
  12. ^ Dundas, Carl W. (8 November 2011). The Lag of 21St Century Democratic Elections: in the African Union Member States. Author House. ISBN 978-1-4567-9707-2.
  13. ^ Ebai William Egbe (26 July 2015). "NEPAD ACRONYMS". {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ Edo, Victor Osaro; Olanrewaju, Michael Abiodun (2012). "An Assessmnent of the Transformation of the Organization of African Unity (O.a.u) to the African Union (A.u), 19632007". Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria. 21: 41–69. ISSN 0018-2540. JSTOR 41857189.

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