Africa: South African Churches on NEPAD, 06/02/02

Africa: South African Churches on NEPAD, 06/02/02

Status: OAfrica: South African Churches on NEPADDate distributed (ymd): 020608Document reposted by Africa ActionAfrica Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++ Region: Continent-WideIssue Areas: +economy/development+ SUMMARY CONTENTS: During a press conference at the South African Council of Churcheson June 6, the South African churches issued an assessment of NEPADas a discussion document. This posting contains brief excerpts fromthe summary and plain text version of the document: "Un-blurringthe Vision: An Assessment of the New Partnership for Africa'sDevelopment by South African Churches." The full plain text versionwill be available in the web archive of this posting at complete document, including footnotes and graphics, isavailable as a Word file from Ms Thabitha Chepape at the SACBCJustice & Peace Department, tel. + 27 (0)12 323 6458, The document will be published in hard copyfor further distribution in the coming weeks.For more information contact:Neville Gabriel, Justice & Peace Department, Southern AfricanCatholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC), 140 Visagie Street PO Box 941PRETORIA 0001 South Africa; Tel. +27 (0)12 323 6458 Fax. +27 (0)12326 6218 Mobile. +27 (0)83 449 3934; E-mail: to a wide variety of additional documents on NEPAD areavailable at See also: and A related posting sent out today contains a request fororganizational signatures on a letter to be sent to the G7 financeministers.

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n-blurring the Vision: An Assessment of the New Partnership forAfrica's DevelopmentSUMMARYAfrica's social, economic, and political relations urgently need tobe transformed through a focused and determined internationaleffort if Africa is to be lifted out of the poverty trap. The NewPartnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) presents itself as avisionary and dynamic initiative by a core group of new generationAfrican leaders to reconstruct and develop the continent.Blurred VisionBut NEPAD's vision is blurred by fixing its sights on increasedglobal integration and rapid private sector growth as the answer toovercoming poverty, and by its failure to engage with Africa'speople to transform the continent. The remarkable political willgenerated by NEPAD must be focused into a participatorytransformation of Africa through direct, immediate, and decisiveaction to overcome the causes of Africa's impoverishment. ...The general issues addressed by NEPAD are not entirely new butNEPAD does contain several promising aspects that could giverenewed hope and life to Africa's people. NEPAD can strengthenaccountability and effective collaboration between Africangovernments in a way that has not happened before. ...NEPAD contains some problematic elements that have proven to beineffective in building peaceful, just, and caring societies inAfrica.

Its economic strategy is discredited by the harsh impact onthe poor in African countries that have already adopted similarpolicies. It pretends to be unaware of the severe negative socialimpact that rapid privatisation of basic and social services has onimpoverished communities in Africa. It fails to address theunderlying power relations that constrain Africa's development. Itdoes not provide a decisive mechanism to repair the persistentdamage done to individuals, families, whole societies, andenvironments in Africa's history. Most of all, NEPAD has neglectedAfrica's people both in the process of its construction and in itsprimary focus. If NEPAD does not focus on Africa's people first, itcan result in an increasingly divided Africa at the continental andnational levels.NEPAD must focus primarily on immediate poverty eradicationinterventions that will deliver direct benefits to the poor ratherthan it current focus on a long-term and indirect developmentstrategy. Meaningful debt cancellation for Africa must beprioritised as a pre-condition for Africa's sustainabledevelopment, so that budget support can be provided for publicinvestment in social services such as health care and education andthe provision of water and electricity.

NEPAD must also proposedecisive structural changes to the current international financialand trade systems, including proposals such as an internationalcurrency transaction tax and special protection for vulnerableAfrican industries. ...In the same way that African countries are willing to undertake apath of self-criticism and renewal, G7 leaders must make a firmcommitment to support Africa according to the priorities and plansthat are set through participatory and democratic processes inAfrican countries. Ending the scourge of corruption cannot be seenas the responsibility of Africa exclusively because corruption isa global problem that could be worsened by increased foreign tradeand private investment in Africa. A G7 over-emphasis on the"cost-free" elements of NEPAD such as peace-building and governanceissues and on private sector development alone, without acorresponding commitment to support Africa's reconstruction anddevelopment in additional material budget-support terms, reinforcesthe distrust that makes many believe that African development basedon the hope of a new partnership with rich countries is not viable.Un-blurring the VisionWhile NEPAD's analysis of the problems that confront Africa isaccurate and its end goal of an African continent free from war andpoverty expresses the deep-felt hope of all Africans and people ofgood will, the economic path it chooses is bound to fail thismission.NEPAD's vision is blurred by setting its sights on the hope thatgreater global integration will save Africa. Yet NEPAD's vision canbe restored if Africa's leaders enter into a new partnership withtheir people. The vision of a new Africa dawning in the 21stcentury is too precious to be lost because we failed to see thatAfrica's children, men, and women are its greatest treasure.


Un-blurring the Vision:An Assessment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development[Selected excerpts only. This paper was initially drafted by theSACBC Justice & Peace Department. It was further developed throughvarious ecumencial consultations hosted by the South AfricanCouncil of Churches (SACC) and the Southern African CatholicBishops' Conference (SACBC). It was released as a discussion paperon June 6, 2002.]1. Introduction... While Africa holds ten percent of the world's population,seventy-five percent of the world's people living with HIV/AIDS arein Sub-Saharan Africa and one-third of the world's poorest peoplelive in Africa. Half the continent's population lives in absolutepoverty. Africa has inherited a legacy of weak states and badgovernance systems. Africa exports thirty percent more today thanit did in 1980 but receives forty percent less income from theseexports than it did in 1980 due to global forces beyond itscontrol. Nearly half of the estimated 515,000 women who dieannually from pregnancy or child birth are African meaning that oneAfrican woman in 13 dies during pregnancy or childbirth. After more than fifteen years of Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPS) unemployment rates are estimated to be well abovethirty-five percent on the continent. Nineteen thousand childrendie in Africa each day as a result of preventable diseases andmalnutrition. Yet Sub-Saharan Africa has a foreign debt of morethan $170 billion and pays creditors $40 million a week to servicedebts accumulated as a result of the cold war, apartheid, andfailed projects. ....2. What is NEPAD?... Conceived and developed by a core group of African leaders,NEPAD describes itself as a 'comprehensive integrated developmentplan that addresses key social, economic and political prioritiesfor the continent'.

It includes a commitment by African leaders toAfrican people and the international community to place Africa ona path of sustainable growth, accelerating the integration of thecontinent into the global economy. It calls on the rest of theworld to partner Africa in her own development based on her ownagenda and programme of action. ...These plans of action were presented for approval by the Heads ofState Implementation Committee (HSIC) at its meeting on 25-26 Marchin Abuja. The final versions will be presented to the African Union(AU) Summit in July in South Africa. The programme will also bepresented to the G7 Summit in June in Canada.[The NEPAD Steering Committee includes Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria,South Africa, and Senegal.] ...5. Which Wedding Garments to Wear for the New Partnership?... NEPAD may be seen as Africa's attempt to present itself in anacceptable manner to participate in the globalisation weddingfeast. But the kinds of garments NEPAD chooses are telling of whosefeast it is, who its guests will be, and what the quality of themarriage will be.5.1. African-Owned Conditionality?The NEPAD framework provides the possibility for African-controlledconditionality, even though it is an inadequate process in itscurrent form. It is determined by a nucleus of new generationAfrican leaders and is endorsed by the Organisation of AfricanUnity (OAU). ... As an outline of the conditions to which Africanleaders pledge themselves in entering into a partnership with theindustrialised countries, NEPAD does not offer any dramatically newconditions.

It largely follows the kinds of conditions that havebeen demanded by creditor and donor countries in the past, both interms of governance and economic strategy. However, it does includea proposed process for mutual North-South evaluation andaccountability, even though this is not developed adequately. ...5.3. A New African Bloc?NEPAD is a promising initiative to develop dynamic collaborationand accountability between African governments in a way that hasnot happened before. It proposes to develop a code of conduct forAfrican leaders that will include a limitation of terms for headsof state or government, as well as an independent peer reviewmechanism that will make its reports public. In many ways this isdriven by a 'new-boys club' rather than the established 'old-boysclub' of the past. However, understood in the context of shiftinggeopolitical alignments on the continent, this holds out the dangerthat the continent may be divided along two very clear lines: thosebacking NEPAD and those resisting it. Nonetheless, NEPAD holds outthe possibility of creating an African bloc of leaders that can, iftheir policy and strategy advice is appropriate, radically alterthe path of Africa's future participation in multilateralorganisations.5.4. Ending Africa's WarsHighest priority is given to conflict management and resolution andpeace-building as a precondition for sustainable development. Theproblem of conflict and wars in Africa is correctly associated withconcerns around Africa's natural resources, systems of governance,and broader issues of poverty. African governments that have beenactively involved in NEPAD have already undertaking some promisinginitiatives to end Africa's great wars and to promote politicalrather than military processes for resolving conflicts that mayarise. However, the Sudan war remains the biggest challenge toNEPAD's peace-building initiative. How African governments respondin resolving the Sudan war will be the biggest test for NEPAD'sgeneral objectives of building an African consensus for peace andprosperity on the continent.5.5. The Free Market & Africa's Recovery

The Model of Development: NEPAD fails to offer any alternative tothe dominant market fundamentalist development model that placesunquestioning faith in uncontrolled, private sector led, rapideconomic growth as the answer to the problem of rampant poverty,despite the evidence that this strategy in fact deepens poverty,increases unemployment, and widens inequality in the short andmedium term, while making national economies extremely vulnerableto speculative capital and 'market sentiment'. NEPAD in factpromotes a market-driven strategy as the solution to Africa'sproblems, effectively sacrificing the poor who are here now forsome uncertain end in the distant future. ...5.6. Democratic Participation?NEPAD completely failed to meaningfully engage with communities andcivil society organisations concerning its process and content.This highlights the problematic trend in the "globalised" world formajor national and international priorities to be determinedoutside of democratic processes in un-transparent, unaccountableprocesses in the international sphere. While NEPAD, by design, didnot include space for civil society input into its initialdevelopment, it did, by design, include high-level consultationwith the IMF/World Bank and leaders of industrialised countries andthe private business leaders. ...5.7. Changing Perceptions of AfricaNEPAD is in many respects a marketing strategy for Africa thatattempts to overcome the negative image and sentiment that Africagenerates in the consciousness of many political, business, andcivil society circles outside the continent. It has, for whateverreasons, received much acclaim and has won international politicalrespectability that could be harnessed for the benefit of thecontinent.5.8. Africa on the Global AgendaNEPAD has succeeded to engage the global political and economicpowers in a direct dialogue on the course of Africa's developmentso that the upcoming G7 Kananaskis summit has Africa and NEPAD asa major theme. The political will that has been generated throughthe NEPAD process as a result of energetic work by Africa'sleaders, represents a major achievement for NEPAD that must beapplauded. However, the direction in which that political will hasbeen mustered is ambiguous at best. It remains to be seen whetherthe political will can be sustained if democratic processes alterthe direction of NEPAD's primary focus.5.9. Poverty is a Secondary FocusThe strategies adopted by NEPAD are intended to deliver long-termand indirect poverty alleviation through mechanisms that have notyet delivered real benefits to the poor in African countries thathave tried them. NEPAD has no clear plan to address the currentcrisis of impoverishment that is rampant across Africa, includingthe joblessness crisis. ...5.10. Redistributing Power?The current international power relations determine the boundariesof possibility for developing an effective development plan forAfrica. NEPAD does not make clear proposals to change the currentpower relations that are the single biggest obstacle to Africa'sdevelopment. It in fact proposes greater participation in thecurrent international political and economic governance structuresand processes as they are now, in the framework of 'a newpartnership'. However, 'partnership' in a context of seriouslydisproportionate power relations, amounts to little more thandomination.5.11. The Lure of PrivatisationNEPAD adopts rapid and extensive privatisation in various forms asa key strategy to offer investment opportunities, attract foreigninvestment, and develop infrastructure across the continent.

It does this in a way that pretends to be unaware of the severe socialconsequences of such measures, especially in a context ofwidespread poverty and inequality.5.12. What About Reparations?Only passing mention is given by NEPAD to Africa's history ofslavery and colonialism with no mention of the need forreparations. This represents a political decision by NEPAD'sengineers to avoid the politically charged language of historicaljustice and reparations. However, NEPAD presents itself in manyways as a post-colonial Marshall Plan for Africa's recovery.However, reparations remain a major concern not only amongst theSouthern African victims of severe human rights violations underapartheid, but among a wide variety of civil society groups acrossthe continent. ...6.2. Building on Unstable GroundSome crucial aspects of NEPAD are very disturbing. Despitewidespread public discontent, NEPAD makes proposals that have notproven to be effective to build stable, just, and caring societiesin Africa:6.2.1. NEPAD articulates the serious negative impact on Africa of"globalisation's" market fundamentalist development model but thengoes on to adopt and promote more of the same model as the solutionto Africa's economic problems. NEPAD's macro-economic frameworkmust be seriously questioned on the basis of the current experienceof the poor in African countries that have already adopted thesepolicies.6.2.2. NEPAD pretends to be unaware of the severe negative impactthat rapid privatisation of social and basic services has onimpoverished and highly indebted communities.6.2.2. The process that gave rise to NEPAD glaringly neglectedpopular participation in any meaningful form.

There can be no realdevelopment without the participation of Africa's people at allstages of the process.6.2.3. NEPAD fails to address the underlying international andnational power relations, structures, and processes that willultimately determine the success or failure of the process.6.2.4. NEPAD does not offer clear prospects to resolve the call forreparations that are due to Africa's people....Accordingly, the following proposals are made to correct thefailures of the NEPAD process and to improve its content and focus:6.3.1. NEPAD must recognise that Africa requires a fresh start.Africa cannot begin to develop unless the massive current socialbacklog is directly addressed as a first step. NEPAD shouldtherefore include, as a priority, an additional programme todeliver immediate and direct anti-poverty interventions that willlift the poor out of their current suffering. ...6.3.2. Meaningful debt cancellation must be prioritised as aprecondition for the success of any other medium or long-termstrategy for social and economic recovery.6.3.3. NEPAD must give higher priority to rapidly increasedinvestment in social services such as health care and education,rather than the low priority that social services are currentlygiven in NEPAD's plans.6.3.4. NEPAD must support proposals for corrective changes to theinternational financial system such as the proposed internationalcurrency transaction tax that could be implemented at nationallevel, and that a set proportion of the revenues raised in richcountries should be directed to Africa's reconstruction anddevelopment.6.3.5. NEPAD must address the call for corrective action to repairthe damage caused to individuals and communities as a result ofAfrica's history of slavery, colonialism, and apartheid.6.3.6. Broad-based national popular consultation processes must beinitiated across Africa to review the NEPAD programme. To this end,a civil society liaison unit should be established within the NEPADsecretariat and national civil society representatives should beelected to participate in official NEPAD discussions....


Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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