New Partnership for Africa’s Development. (NEPAD)

New Partnership for Africa’s Development. (NEPAD)

The new partnership for African Development (NEPAD) is a vision for development by African political leadership at the dawn of the twenty first Century. It seeks to jump start economic growth and to sustain development through increased investment of capital as African states implement policies based on good democratic governance and respect for human rights an and the rule of law. Like it’s predecessors, The Lagos Plan of Action and The Final Act of Lagos, NEPAD places emphasis on regional economic integration as a vital component of the process of managing the modernization of African economies. Through regional integration, Africa’s infrastructure will be developed and trade and investment better facilitated. In this regard, NEPAD has been seen as a timely economic blue print for the African Union.

In April 2002, African forum for Envisioning Africa met in Nairobi under the auspices of the African Academy of Sciences, Heinrich Boll Foundation and the Mazingira Institute to reflect on the NEPAD concept and agenda. The output was the papers published in this volume under the title NEPAD: A new Path? The overall view of the scholars was that NEPAD provided a broad platform for discussing Africa’s development alternatives in a globalized world economy in which neo-liberalism ha become hegemonic. It recognizes that development through autarchy is utopian. It is also aware that capitulation to the dictates of neo-liberalism would be tantamount to accepting imperialism as a permanent stage of human history. It therefore seeks to argue for a political space in which Africa can put its case on the basis of popular democratic demands of her peoples for equity and social justice at a global level

In this regard NEPAD continues the tradition of progressive forces in Africa in search for a new international economic order and recognizes that this case can only be put with moral force if there is a new continental political order based on democratic governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

The forum critically examined the NEPAD concept and proposals, observing the many loopholes that have not been filled due to various shortcomings in understanding the dynamics of globalization. It was simplistic to assume that the developed economies would increase trade and development support to Africa on the basis of the rationality of NEPAD. A rigorous negotiations posture and struggle was recommended. But this could not happen until African Governments and civil society were fully committed to Africa’s global interest and collective self-reliance, a philosophy that Kwame Nkrumah had advanced his book Africa Must Unite

NEPAD: A new Path? Is an essential reading for proponents and critique of the newsletter. It also provides a useful review and discussion of several issues that are central to the development debates in Africa.