The mandate for the New African Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) had its genesis at the OAU Extraordinary Summit held in Sirte, Libya during September 1999. The Summit mandated President Mbeki of South Africa and President 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 G-77, held in Havana, Cuba during April 2000, mandated President Mbeki and President Obasanjo of Nigeria to convey the concerns of the South to the G-8 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 G-8 at their Summit in Japan during July 2000. The work on developing NEPAD (at that stage referred to as the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme (MAP)) then began in earnest and a process of engagement on a bilateral and multilateral level was pursued.

During the 5th Extraordinary Summit of the OAU held in Sirte, Libya from 1 to 2 March 2001, President Obasanjo made a presentation on MAP, while President Wade of Senegal who presented the OMEGA Plan. The work being done by the four Presidents, i.e. 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, including the ECA's New Global Compact with Africa. In reaching this decision, the Summit recognised the synergy and complementarity that existed between the various initiatives.

An integration process of the various initiatives followed, and on 11 July 2001, NEPAD (or the New African Initiative (NAI) as it was temporarily known at the time), was presented to the OAU Summit of Heads of State and Government in Lusaka, Zambia, providing the vision for Africa, a statement of the problems facing the continent and a Programme of Action to resolve these problems in order to reach the vision. NEPAD was enthusiastically received and unanimously adopted in the form of Declaration 1 (XXXVII) as Africa's principal agenda for development, providing a holistic, comprehensive integrated strategic framework for the socio-economic development of the continent, within the institutional framework of the African Union.


This adoption of NEPAD is considered as one of the most important developments of recent times for its conception of a development programme placing Africa at the apex of the global agenda, by:

  • Creating an instrument for advancing a people-centered sustainable development in Africa based on democratic values;
  • Being premised on recognition that Africa has an abundance of natural resources and people who have the capacity to be agents for change and so holds the key to her own development; and
  • Providing the common African platform from which to engage the rest of the international community in a dynamic partnership that holds real prospects for creating a better life for all.


The primary objective of NEPAD is to eradicate poverty in Africa and to place African countries both individually and collectively on a path of sustainable growth and development to thus halt the marginalisation of Africa in the globalisation process. At the core of the NEPAD process is its African ownership, which must be retained and strongly promoted, so as to meet the legitimate aspirations of the African peoples. While the principle of partnership with the rest of the world is equally vital to this process, such partnership must be based on mutual respect, dignity, shared responsibility and mutual accountability. The expected outcomes are:

  • Economic growth and development and increased employment; 
  • Reduction in poverty and inequality;
  • Diversification of productive activities;
  • Enhanced international competitiveness and increased exports; and
  • Increased African integration.


NEPAD is structured into three components:

  • The first component provides the preconditions for sustainable development, which are the Peace, Security, Democracy and Political Governance Initiatives; the Economic and Corporate Governance Initiative; and the sub-regional and regional approaches to development.
    The second component provides the sectoral priorities, which include bridging the infrastructure gap; the Human Resource Development Initiative; the Agriculture Initiative; the Environment Initiative; the Cultural Initiative and Science and Technology Platforms.
    The third component concerns the mobilisation of resources, referring to the Capital Flows Initiative and the Market Access Initiative.


Relationship between NEPAD and African Union

NEPAD is a mandated initiative of the African Union. The NEPAD Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee has to report annually to the Union Summit. The Chair of the Union as well as the Chair of the Commission of the Union are ex-officio members of the Implementation Committee. The Commission of the Union is expected to participate in Steering Committee meetings.


Relationship with SADC
The linkage between NEPAD and the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) was adopted by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Finance at their meeting in Blantyre on 13 September 2001, which came to the conclusion that, in terms of relationships, SADC is part of and feeds into NEPAD since the latter is premised on the regional economic communities (RECs). The Ministers recognised that NEPAD is a framework and process within the Union, while SADC is a recognised REC of the Union. SADC participates, therefore, in both the Union and NEPAD. To this end, by strengthening the implementation capacity of SADC, it was recognised that success in NEPAD would be enhanced. It was decided that the development of the RISDP and the SADC restructuring process should take NEPAD into account, and where appropriate, SADC and NEPAD programmes should be harmonised. SADC should also take NEPAD into account in the ongoing review of SADC programmes.


Other Linkages
NEPAD has not been constructed and come into existence in a vacuum. Therefore, it is important that it be linked to existing initiatives and programmes for Africa. In providing the focal point and the overall strategic framework for engagement NEPAD does not seek to replace or compete with these initiatives and programmes, but rather to consciously establish linkages and synergies between NEPAD and existing initiatives. In this way, all activities focused on Africa can be pursued in an integrated and coordinated fashion within the framework of priorities and needs identified by Africans for themselves.
A major effort is also ongoing to continuously factor NEPAD imperatives into the outcomes of international conferences such as the Conference on Financing for Development (FfD), the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), to ensure the integration of NEPAD into the multilateral system. In a wider context, countries of the South subscribe to the priorities outlined in NEPAD and have generally welcomed it with words of solidarity and moral support, as well as an appreciation for South Africa's positive role in NEPAD.


Implementation of NEPAD
At the inaugural Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee meeting held in Abuja on 23 October 2001, the Heads of State and Government established a 15-member Task Force for the implementation of NEPAD. A three tier governing structure was accepted for NEPAD:

  • · Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee
    Chaired by President Obasanjo, with Presidents Wade and Bouteflika as Vice-chairpersons, the Implementation Committee is comprised of fifteen states (three per OAU geographic region), including the five initiating states, South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Senegal and Egypt. The composition is as follows:
    North Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia
  • West Africa: Nigeria, Senegal, Mali
  • Central Africa: Cameroon, Gabon, Sao Tome & Principe
  • East Africa: Ethiopia, Mauritius and Rwanda
  • Southern Africa: South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique
    The main function of the Implementation Committee is to set policies and priorities and the Programme of Action. The Implementation Committee is expected to meet three times per year. It reports annually to the African Union Summit.
    Steering Committee
    The Steering Committee is composed of the personal representatives of the five initiating Presidents, and is tasked with the development of the Terms of Reference for identified programmes and projects, as well as overseeing the Secretariat.
    The full-time, small core staff of the Secretariat located at the Development Bank of Southern Africa in Midrand provides the liaison, coordination, and administrative and logistical function for NEPAD. It is also responsible for outsourcing of work on technical detail to lead agencies and/or continental experts.

Five task teams were established to urgently identify and prepare specific implementable projects and programmes. In terms of working arrangements, South Africa is to coordinate the Peace, Security, Democracy and Political Governance Initiative; Nigeria the Economic and Corporate Governance/Banking and Financial Standards/Capital Flows Initiatives; Egypt the Market Access and Agriculture Initiatives; Algeria the Human Resources Development Initiative; and Senegal the Infrastructure Initiative.

In addition, the Implementation Committee decided to develop a set of governance principles and to develop a mechanism for peer review. Lastly, the Steering Committee was mandated to develop a strategic plan for marketing and communications at the national, regional, continental and international levels.

The second meeting of the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee was held in Abuja on 26 March 2002. At this meeting the Implementation Committee underlined the centrality of the commitment to peace, and requested the Sub-Committee on Peace and Security to focus on the following priority areas:

  • Enhance capacity to conduct thorough inclusive strategic assessments of situations in regions affected by conflicts;
  • Support efforts at developing early warning systems at continental and regional levels, including the development of strategic analysis and database systems;
  • Support post-conflict reconstruction and development in all affected countries, including rehabilitation of national infrastructure, the population as well as refugees and internally displaced persons, with a special focus on sustainable programmes of disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation;
  • Support efforts to curb the illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking in small arms and light weapons in Africa;
  • Support efforts to promote democracy, good governance and respect for human rights through appropriate policy and institutional reforms; and
  • Assist in resource mobilisation for the African Union Peace Fund.

Regarding the enhancement of capacity for conflict prevention, management and resolution in Africa, the Heads of State and Government extended its full support to the ongoing efforts aimed at reviewing and enhancing the effectiveness of the African Union Central Organ (expected to be renamed the Peace and Security Council) including the review of its mandate, its membership, its methods of work and funding.

It also underscored the need for greater coordination of REC mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution; the African Union Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution and the UN Security Council. Furthermore, the Heads of State supported the process of the ongoing discussions and consultations on the establishment of the Council of the Wise to complement the efforts of the envisaged African Union Peace and Security Council.

On Political Governance and the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Committee considered and strongly supported the Draft Report on Good Governance and Democracy as well as an African Peer Review Mechanism. Essentially, the proposals adopted seek to ensure the implementation of objectives contained in such documents as the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Protocol on the Establishment of an African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights and the Framework for an OAU Response to Unconstitutional Changes of Government.

The African Peer Review Mechanism will enhance African ownership of its development agenda, through a system of self-assessment that ensures that policies of African countries are based on best current knowledge and practices. An effective Mechanism, designed, owned and managed by Africans, must be credible, transparent and all-encompassing, so as to demonstrate that African leaders are fully aware of the responsibilities and obligations to their peoples, and are genuinely prepared to engage and relate to the rest of the world on the basis of integrity and mutual respect.

This would enable the Continent to make the necessary interventions in any situation considered to be at variance with the principles contained in these agreed documents. In essence this refers also to the fact that the Continent should not be punished for reverses it might suffer in one or another of the 54 countries in Africa. The Steering Committee was mandated to finalise the Report on Good Governance and Democracy for adoption at its next meeting.

The Implementation Committee also reviewed the issue of Economic and Corporate Governance in Africa, with a view to promoting sound macro-economic and public financial management and accountability among members, while protecting the integrity of their monetary and financial systems. This was consistent both with the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community, the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the founding document of NEPAD, which, among others, visualize the harmonisation of economic policies among the African countries. The Report on Good Economic and Corporate Governance states that: "Good economic governance would attempt to evolve well-defined structures; harmonious and complementary fiscal, monetary, and trade policies; coherent development strategies and programs; promotion of a dynamic domestic private sector and establishment of monitoring and regulatory authorities for promotion and coordination of different economic activities".

Eight Draft Codes and Standards for Economic and Corporate Governance for Africa and an African Peer Review Mechanism were approved, covering such areas as monetary, financial and fiscal policies; budget and debt management and transparency, corporate governance, auditing and bank supervision, while it was recommended that the technical aspects of the Peer Review Mechanism should be conducted by an independent, credible African institution, separate from the political process and structures.

The Implementation Committee supported the main thrust of the Draft Action Plans for the four priority sectors and directed the Steering Committee to finalise these and other Action Plans, for presentation at the next meeting of the Committee. The presentation to the next meeting of the Committee should also include Draft Action Plans on Capacity-Building, Poverty Alleviation, Gender Issues and Disaster Management.

Relationship between NEPAD and the CSSDCA
Although there is convergence and complimentarity between the objectives of the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA) and NEPAD in the context of the African Union, there are particular areas of overlap and possible duplication that need to be addressed. To this end the NEPAD Steering Committee, in cooperation with the OAU Secretariat, has been directed to submit proposals on the rationalisation of the two initiatives to the Heads of State and Government Implementation Committee at its next meeting in Durban on 8 July 2002.

Initially it had been suggested that CSSDCA was a framework for the adoption of common values for the African Union as well as benchmarks against which successes could be measured, whilst NEPAD was an action programme for achieving the objectives of the African Union and the continent. As envisaged, one of the main characteristics of the CSSDCA initiative was its provision of a mechanism for monitoring and facilitating the implementation of African Union decisions.


The Way Forward
A detailed NEPAD Programme of Action will be presented to the next Summit of the G-8 in Kananaskis, Canada in June 2002 and to the inaugural Summit of the African Union in South Africa in July 2002. The European Community, the World Bank, the IMF and the UN will also participate in the Kananaskis meeting. It is expected that the decisions taken at G-8 meeting will help further to advance the Global Development Goals agreed at the 2000 UN Millennium Summit, build on the recent Monterrey FfD Conference and open the door for the success of the WSSD.

The rationale for establishing the NEPAD management structures that have been agreed upon is to ensure capacity for implementation. To this end the issue of capacity building is critical to the successfully implementation of the NEPAD process, in particular the extent to which African countries develop commensurate capacity for undertaking strategic NEPAD projects. The issue of capacity building permeates through all of the priority areas, because it underpins the success of the whole