‘Another false dawn for Africa?’ An assessment of NEPAD

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is a new initiative to overcome Africa’s problems such as underdevelopment, poverty, undemocratic regimes and lack of co-operation between African states. Initiated by the most significant states of Africa and supported by the industrialised world, NEPAD raised an intense debate about if it would be an exact solution forAfricaor “another false dawn”. This essay will begin with a description of NEPAD and refer to the previous attempts with same objectives. Afterwards, it will discuss the components of NEPAD mentioning the strengths and weaknesses of them. It will conclude with the comment that although NEPAD is a valuable framework for addressingAfrica’s challenges, it is far away to find permanent solutions for them.


The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is a project addressing Africa’s development challenges and was initiated by heads of five African states; South Africa, Algeria, Egypt, Nigeriaand Senegal. The strategic framework of NEPAD was adopted by the Assembly of African Heads of State and Government in the 37th Summitof the Organisation of African Unity (OAU/AU) in July 2001. Its General Secretariat is in Midrand, South Africa.[1]

NEPAD is the composition of three previous initiatives. Millennium Partnership for Africa’s Recovery Programme (MAP) launched by the leaders of South Africa, Algeria and Nigeria; OMEGA Plan of Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade and The Compact for African Recovery prepared by the executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). These three plans were merged in July 2001 OAU/AU Summitand named as ‘New African Initiative’. Later, the name of the initiative was changed to be the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. [2]

The general purpose of NEPAD is to overcome the problems of Africathat were unsolvable for so long and to defeat the backwardness of the continent by achieving sustainable development. Although it is seen to focus on economic integration and development, its ambitious goals also include making political and social reforms and maintaining good governance in every African country. Hope, describes NEPAD to be a “home grown solution to overcome Africa’s marginalisation in the world economy and international affairs, while improving the standard of living of the African people.”[3]

NEPAD’s primary objectives are listed in its official website as follows: To eradicate poverty; to place African countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development; to halt the marginalisation of Africa in the globalisation process and enhance its full and beneficial integration into the global economy; to accelerate the empowerment of women.[4] These objectives point out the emphasis of the initiative on economy.

On the other hand, NEPAD initiators are conscious that these ambitious objectives can not be achieved unless a number of priorities are fulfilled. These are peace and security; democracy and good, political, economic and corporate governance; regional co-operation and integration; capacity building.[5] NEPAD’s correlation of economical development with political improvement is one of its innovations.

There are some plans and mechanisms undertaken by NEPAD such as African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) which aims to realize the democratisation and good governance goals, Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) for agricultural development and Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) for poverty reduction. These will be discussed later in this essay.

Overcoming the backwardness and underdevelopment of Africais a difficult but hopefully not impossible mission. We see that NEPAD has a comprehensive approach to the problem as we look at the objectives and priorities. The rhetoric of goals and aims are well constructed and everyone, including NEPAD itself, accepts that they are ambitious goals. NEPAD is even called as “Africa’s Marshall Plan” by the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.[6] Besides, the initiative wishes to meet the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals for 2015.[7] Suffering from poverty, pandemic diseases, hunger, civil wars, economic decline etc. for decades,Africa has no time to lose. It is important to find out if the initiative has the potential and sincerity to achieve them.


NEPAD is not the first attempt that seeks answers toAfrica’s great developmental question, undoubtedly. I would like to give a brief history of the process before NEPAD.

The history of the attempts for African economic development starts with the independence of African countries with the establishment of the OAU in 1963[8]. However, concrete attempts began to appear only in 1980. The African Heads of States and Governments passed The Lagos Plan of Act (LPA) for a collective and rapid social and economic development with the Final Act of Lagos which planned to establish an African Economic Community by the year 2000.[9]

A year later, World Bank drew up a report titled “Accelerated Development in Sub-Saharan Africa: An Agenda for Action” also known as Berg Report, criticizing LPA for not giving much importance to private sector and emphasizing the guilt of bad governance and corruption of African governments. However, this report was also criticized because of its heavy liberal approach such as privatizing all the public sectors.[10]

Additionally, The United Nations (UN) and its Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) always paid a close attention to the issue. The two documents LPA and Berg Report were followed by the United Nations Program of Action for Africa’s Economic Recovery and Development (UN-PAAERD) in between 1986-1990, The African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Program for Socio-Economic Recovery and Transformation (AAF-SAP) by ECA in 1989, The African Charter for Popular Participation for Development by ECA in 1990 and the New Agenda for Development of Africa by the UN in 1991.[11]

None of these documents brought a permanent solution for Africabecause they did not take into consideration the political aspect of the problem. Africa, in Cold War era, was an arena of ideological conflict and was not a suitable place for economic co-operation or integration. It is obvious that no attempt for economical development can be successful without political backing. As being a project of post-Cold War era NEPAD is the first attempt which declares the governments’ will for democratic reforms and good governance. On the other hand, because of their neo-liberal economy policies such as privatising health and education, SAPs were denied by the governments, scholars and researchers of Africa.[12]


The South African president Thabo Mbeki is the architect of NEPAD project which is a continuation of his “African Renaissance” ideal. This vision envisages cultural, social and political rebirth for African states besides economic development.[13] NEPAD is seen by some scholars as “a programme of action which clearly signals a post-nationalist path that highlights instead a pan-Africanist view of renewal”[14] in this context.

Having good relations with European states, especially with the United Kingdom, Mbeki championed NEPAD process and gained support from the G8 and OECD countries. However, there are serious suspicions about Mbeki’s coherence. Olivier criticizes him to behave according to two contradictory motives; idealism and pragmatism: “His idealism leads him to champion noble causes like NEPAD, the African renaissance, the elimination of African poverty and the restoration of African pride, and to proclaim the virtues of good governance, human rights and democracy in Africa.”[15] This idealism replaces with pragmatism in practice. Mbeki’s sincerity about NEPAD’s political reforms is debated seriously after his and Nigerian President Obasanjo’s support for Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe despite his undemocratic practices and human rights violation.[16]


The AU is a pan-Africanist organisation like its predecessor the OAU, which models itself the European Union (EU) and aims the political and economic integration of the African states. NEPAD is declared to be a “program in support of the African Union” and a “mandated initiative” of it.[17]

However, there is actually little relation between the two. Thabo Mbeki and other initiator leaders of NEPAD try to separate them at the institutional level because they are afraid of Libyan President Qaddafi’s influence on the AU that may cause the G8 and OECD leaders’ resentment.[18]

On the other hand, there is a symbolic difference too. AU Secretariat is based in Ethiopiaand NEPAD Secretariat in South Africashowing the country’s influence on the initiative. Scholars are critical of this situation: “NEPAD enjoying a lot of support and attention, especially from abroad, to the obvious exclusion and detriment of the AU. It is important to void a situation where NEPAD and the AU are played off against each other; the AU is Africa’s premier continental and pan-African body and should be strengthened, not undermined.”[19]

There are also structural differences between NEPAD and the AU. De Waal mentions them by the following words: “…while the OAU/African Union is a club with no criterion for membership other than existence upon African soil, participation in NEPAD’s ‘enhanced partnership’ is subject to meeting certain standards of governance and economic management.[20]


As mentioned before, NEPAD framework declares that there are preconditions for sustainable development in Africa. These are peace, security, democracy, good governance, human rights and sound economic management.[21] These preconditions need to be analyzed in detail. Hope groups the core principles of NEPAD in five.[22]

The first principle is “good governance” in the areas of corporation, economy and politics. One of NEPAD’s characteristics is its emphasis on good governance to achieve the economic growth and development. Promoting rule of law, institutional reforms, enhancing the accountability, participation and responsibility are aims of good political governance. In this context, NEPAD presented a concrete step named African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in 2002.

On the other hand, economic governance entails things like transparent management, regulating fiscal policy, public expenditure management, debt management etc. Lastly, good corporate governance refers to the development of corporate structures inAfricain order to maintain the global standards to attract private international capital flows.

NEPAD’s principle of “entrenchment of democracy, peace and security” is a crucial point for the success of the project. Most of the African nations live under dictatorial regimes, suffer from long civil wars, terrorism, crimes etc. It is obvious that developmental goals ofAfrica can not be achieved within instable social and political environments.

Another core principle is “sound economic policy-making and execution”. The main purpose of NEPAD is firstly to achieve regional economic integration and then link the whole continent to the globalisation process. NEPAD framework document entails the restoration and maintenance of macroeconomic stability and introduces appropriate institutional frameworks to achieve these standards.

Any project for Africa’s development needs to be owned by Africans themselves. The main flaw of the previous initiatives was the indifference of African governments and people to them. NEPAD aims full “domestic ownership and leadership” in order to find permanent solutions toAfrica’s problems.

NEPAD attaches great importance to “productive partnerships” betweenAfrica and its bilateral and multilateral partners. This principle regulates the co-operation between the donor and recipient countries.

Theoretically it includes the partnership of all African states to maintain an altogether political, social and economical development and improvement of Africaby co-operation. The other side of this partnership is the contribution of the industrialised states to the project[23]. NEPAD is another African initiative which leans upon the aids of rich donor states.

However, the concept of “partnership” seems to be problematic. NEPAD, being a leader-driven initiative is criticized for insufficient popular participation and ownership. Somalia, Zimbabwe, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and many other African countries are not ready to be an automatic member of NEPAD which has obviously ambitious political aims for the whole Africasuch as peace, security and democracy. Thus, the term “enhanced partnership” is offered for NEPAD’s structure which refers to a selective, limited partnership both in the side of rich states and Africa.[24] However, this contradicts with NEPAD’s main goals which envisage a collective development for the continent.

On the other hand, the nature of this partnership is debated too. A partnership between poor South and rich North is not a partnership of equals. NEPAD is not a project of mutual interests. Thus, if we analyze the project in terms of realpolitik, financial support of industrialised states in return of good governance in Africa raise doubts about either the will of the North or the sustainability of the project. This “partnership of unequal partners”[25] always contains danger to give priority to wealthy states interests instead of the weak ones.


Foreign aids policy has been a custom for almost every project on Africa’s development that Africareceived 1 trillion dollars of aid between 1965 and 2004.[26] NEPAD is no exception. Aid from G8 and OECD countries are accepted to be the main source ofAfrica’s economic renewal and NEPAD actually desires to foster and regulate this system.

However, there is also serious opposition to this policy in Africa. A champion of African Union, GambiaPresident Yahya Jammeh’s words represent the resentment of idealists: “People are sick and tired of African beggars. Nobody will ever develop your country for you. I am not criticizing NEPAD, but the way it was conceived to be dependent on begging.”[27]

On the other hand, an analysis according to economical parameters also brings an opposition to the idea to stake Africa’s future on foreign states. Scholars suggest that instead of aid from donor states, Africaneeds development assistance, opening international markets to African products, reduction and write-off of debt, increase of domestic savings and more and fairer trade.[28] Economic growth can be secured by the increased activity of private sector usingAfrica’s domestic sources rather than governmental assistance of donor states.

The UN Commission for Africa’s report “Our Common Interest” published in 2005[29] recommends the plan that African states should make radical changes in the way they govern their states in exchange for aid, reduction of debt and change in trade policy. In response to this, Mistry shows a sensible approach to the aid policy matter ofAfrica:

The partnership propounded by NEPAD predicates that, if Africagoverns itself better, donors will provide more aid. This sound reasonable, but is distinctly odd. Africaneeds to govern itself better regardless of how much aid it gets. If it governed itself better, it would not need more aid as it could use its own resources to greater effect. NEPAD is thus an arrangement under which African governments must be bribed by donors with more aid in order to govern better.[30]

He predicts that every attempt with this mentality will end up with a failure inAfricabecause the continent actually needs human, social and institutional capital not financial capital. In my opinion, aids from donor countries always bring along some conditions for the recipient state and new debts and credits borrowed from institutions such as IMF mean new burdens for them. Finding the way to increase production by the effective usage of sources is compulsory for permanent solution.

Moreover, the G8 meeting in July 2005 was a disappointment for Africa. The amount of aid decided to be given for a five year period was below the expectations and African states’ demands for unconditional debt cancellation and bigger access to Western markets remained unanswered.[31] The reluctance of the industrialised states to keep their promises justifies the rejection of the Africans who are against the system that envisage development by using foreign aid.


NEPAD is also opposed by anti-globalisation groups such as labour unions, human rights activists and civil society groups because of its ideological rationale. They are not happy with NEPAD’s final economical aim to integrate the continent with the global economy and the centre role of G8, OECD, IMF and World Bank in the project. They claim that this would serve the interest of capitalist states such as theUSAinstead ofAfricaand is another way to exploit it. Although this seems to be a naïve Marxist rhetoric, the unpleasant past of Africa-North relations always feed a potential distrust for every initiative supported by Northern states not only among anti-capitalists but everyone.

On the other hand, Lesufi goes forward to say that the real incentive at the heart of NEPAD is “the continuation of the programme of the global and South African multinational corporations’ expansive tendencies in an attempt to find solutions to the crisis of world capitalism” instead of promoting the national interest of African states.[32]

Neo-liberal politics of NEPAD are also criticized on the grounds that the previous efforts for Africa’s development failed because of their neo-liberalist economy politics. Its neo-liberal framework is accused of being patterned along textbook economics which are not written for economies in decline such as in Africa.[33] Critics instead support “social oriented economic paradigm” [34] and “a regional and sub-regional integration that mobilise domestic resources and minimises dependence on the international market.”[35]


African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)

As mentioned before, NEPAD declares that the socio-economic development of Africacan only be achieved with the good governance in politics, economy and corporates. African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is one of NEPAD’s concrete steps which increases hopes for Africa’s development in good governance and democracy. The characteristic of this mechanism is that the states voluntarily join it and accept to be examined by other African states in terms of NEPAD guidelines. Experts assess and critique the countries’ performance in democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance and socio-economic development. [36]

There are 29 African countries which have signed the APRM Memorandum of Understanding and are open to be “inspected” by their peers. These countries are: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Republicof Congo, Kenya, Lesotho, Mali, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome&Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Togo, Tanzania, Ugandaand Zambia. Five of them have completed the process: Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwandaand South Africa. [37]

The structure of the APRM is as follows:

Each Country Review Team will be headed by a member of the APR Panel, supported by experts in each of the four focus areas of the APRM. These experts may be drawn from the in-house resources of the APR and Nepad Secretariats; or they may come from supporting organisations such as the African Development Bank (ADB) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), as well as from other African Union (AU) organs such as the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.[38]

Peer Review process is composed of five stages: Firstly, a background study is done and information is collected by the APRM Secretariat. Besides, the government of the country being reviewed completes a self-assessment questionnaire and prepares a draft national action plan. Secondly, the APRM review team composed of experts in four focal areas visit the country, make interviews with related groups and sectors and make investigations during their visit. Thirdly, the review team prepares a draft report of their analysis and recommendations for the next review and discuss it with the government. In the fourth stage the Participating Heads of State and Government reviews the draft report and comes up with a decision according to the will of reviewed states’ improvement and the will to co-operate. The decision may be giving more assistance or imposing measures. In the end the report is made public and tabled in various regional and sub-regional institutions.[39] APRM aims to include both governments and the civil society within the reforming process.

However, APRM also has serious flaws that bring along suspicions about whether it is a pathway for Africa’s socio-political improvement or a false dawn. The APRM Secretariat is criticized to be understaffed and lacking research capacity. On the other hand, the independence of reviewing bodies is crucial for the process. If the government of the state being reviewed finds the opportunity to influence the APR Panel, this means the failure of the mechanism and may even bring the danger of whitewashing corrupt governments via the APRM process. The weakness of civil society in African states is another problem because APRM needs full participation and ownership by both official organs and society in theory.[40]

Jordaan draws attention to the contradiction of the APRM principles which lead to a failure for the socio-political improvement envisaged by it. NEPAD Secretariat 2002a declares that: “the primary purpose of the APRM is to foster the adoption of policies, standards and practices that lead to political stability” and NEPAD Secretariat 2003c asserts that “[t]he overall objective is to consolidate a constitutional order in which democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law, the separation of powers and effective, responsive public service are realized to ensure sustainable development and a peaceful and stable society.” These APRM base documents emphasize both the political stability and democracy although they are two different concepts which generally cannot be pursued at the same time. A government may have the chance to find an excuse for its undemocratic policies such as suppressing political freedom on the ground of political stability as in the case of Rwanda.[41]

Although APRM is seen as NEPAD’s most concrete step, it has important weaknesses that prevent to get the intended results. For example, submission to APRM is voluntary. This means that no state can be forced to be reviewed and they can leave the mechanism if they wish. On the other hand, NEPAD has no power to compel the countries to either sign up or to comply with standards of good governance. The fact that APRM has no power to impose sanctions and measures causes the comments that it has “no teeth”.[42] Inefficiency of the mechanism to promote good governance and democracy can be witnessed in examples of corrupt top government officials in Africa and also in Zimbabwe and Swaziland which adopted NEPAD and APRM but are still known with their human rights restrictions and abuses.[43]

Besides, although democracy is a core principle for NEPAD, Africais still a continent of undemocratic changes of governments. The NEPAD spirit has been unsuccessful to avoid the military coups in Equatorial Guineain 2004 and Mauritaniain 2005. There are examples of managed and manipulated elections as occurred in Togoin 2005.[44]

APRM seems to be a do-gooder but inadequate effort forAfrica’s democratisation process. Naturally, democratisation and good governance demands should come from the society. I think the most important deficiency of APRM is its logic of democratisation from above which does not fit the history and nature of democracy.


One of NEPAD’s main themes is its peace and security mission. The NEPAD framework declares that “efforts to build Africa’s capacity to manage all aspects of conflict must focus on the means necessary to strengthen existing regional and sub-regional institutions especially in four key areas: Prevention, management and resolution of conflict; peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace enforcement; post-conflict reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction; combating the illicit proliferation of small arms, light weapons and landmines.”[45]

This shows the will of NEPAD to end the Western states’ direct peacekeeping operations in the continent and replace the regional organisations for such activities by using domestic as well as external resources. The USsupported this vision of NEPAD and began to work directly with regional organisations such as Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the AU to resolve the conflicts in Sudanand Darfur, respectively. The USalso involved in the establishment of the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) which has 9000 soldiers for peace-keeping and peace-enforcing duties in Africa. On the other hand, the UKand Francealso developed initiatives to enhance Africa’s capacity in conflict management. The UKsupplied logistics to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its peace operations in Liberiaand Sierra Leone.[46]

However, Africa’s peace and security problem has not been resolved. There has been a success to end the conflict in Angolaand Mozambiquebut Darfur, Somaliaand the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are still arenas of violence. Moreover, Ivory Coast, Liberiaand Sudanstill pose danger with their fragile status.[47] The initiative does not provide a concrete plan to maintain peace and security in the continent although it provides one (APRM) to achieve good governance.


Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP)

One of the long-term objectives of NEPAD is to eradicate poverty. The NEPAD Secretariat works with the World Bank, the IMF, the ADB, the UN agencies and national governments to initiate Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP). The PRSP has six principles: Being country-driven, being results-oriented, being comprehensive, being prioritized, being partnership-oriented and being based on a long-term perspective for poverty reduction. According to Hope “the PRSP process represents an excellent model of the type of productive partnership the NEPAD is seeking to achieve.”[48]

ComprehensiveAfricaAgriculture Development Programme (CAADP)

NEPAD attaches much importance to agricultural development because it is the only way to overcome the problems that wait solutions urgently: Hunger and poverty. African agriculture ministers, the heads of African regional economic groups, the African Development Bank (ADB), the UN Economic Commission forAfricaand experts from the World Bank developed the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), released in July 2003. The Plan states that the high economic rates can only be achieved if the farm production increases. Moreover it directly reduces hunger and brings down the cost of food imports. Increasing rural incomes and providing raw materials for African industry are other economic advantages.

According to CAADP the reasons of agricultural underdevelopment are various. Some are continuing dependence on uncertain rainfall, nutritional deficiencies in Africa’s soils, small and dispersed domestic markets, the instability and decline of world prices for African agricultural exports, the small size of most farms, farmers’ frequent lack of organisation, the lack of rural roads, neglect of the particular needs of women farmers (who produce most of the continent’s food), and the spread of HIV/AIDS, poor government agricultural policies, low investment in farming sector and lack of technological apparatus.[49]

Both PRSP and CAADP present valuable frameworks forAfrica’s problems that need to be solved urgently. This scientific approach should be merged with a strong will and decisive policies.


It has been eight years since the NEPAD framework was adopted and whether the development objectives of it achieved is discussed. Hope wrote in 2006 that according to the rates of economic and social development, Africawould not meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN for 2015.[50] He asserts that the main cause of NEPAD’s failure to meet its goals isAfrica’s “capacity deficits”.

Persistent poverty, emigration of skilled human capital, the deteriorating education system, weak governance systems and the HIV/AIDS epidemic are considered by Hope as the factors that contribute to capacity deficits.[51] He claims that “However significant the level of debt write-off, however sincere the will to implement the NEPAD Action Plans, nothing positive will be achieved in terms of sustainable development outcomes if there are major deficits in capacity.”[52] He offers a fundamental capacity development programme with change and transformation at the individual, institutional and societal levels. Namely these are public services, the legislative bodies, the justice systems, the local governments, civil society and the private sector and infrastructure. Effective partnerships are crucially important during this process. [53]

In my opinion defining the problem and making suggestions to overcome the capacity deficits are necessary to provide an improvement in NEPAD’s implementation. However, I think that the causes of chronic capacity deficits inAfricaand NEPAD’s failure to achieve its goals must be the same. If there has been the necessary will and ability to overcome the capacity deficits ofAfrica, perhaps there would be no need for NEPAD.


NEPAD’s most important disadvantage is its dependency on foreign states. Having a colonial past with the industrialised states of North, many Africans believe that they are the responsible for current underdevelopment and insecurity ofAfrica. There are serious doubts about NEPAD that it serves the interests of them instead ofAfrica.

Akokpari’s alternative to NEPAD is regional integration: “Integration creates bigger markets and stimulates large scale production. This in turn mitigates Africa’s dependence on the world economy, its status as a supplier of raw materials and an importer of manufactured goods. In addition, regionalism insulates Africa’s nascent industries against international competition.” He offers an integration including marginalised regions in Africa, Latin Americaand Arab World. He asserts that this integration is also an alternative to globalisation and not initiated from top but from below by various sectors.[54]

The European Union may serve as a model forAfrica’s regional economic integration. Long-term economic development should rely onAfrica’s domestic sources and capacity instead of foreign aid. Furthermore, the measures that can be taken under an institutional umbrella may also prevent the continent from the adverse affects of globalisation process and the global economic crisis.


When we review the literature onAfrica’s developmental problems and NEPAD, we realise that the historical background and deep roots of the question are unfortunately ignored. NEPAD itself also shares this ignorance. I think the continent’s problems such as underdevelopment, hunger, poverty, violence etc. are all products of previous mistakes. It is necessary to discuss the political and social anomalies of the continent first, before addressing the economical problems, because without social and political stability achieved, trying to meet development goals is meaningless.

The sociological aspect of the problem must not be overlooked. It is a reality thatAfricais a continent of artificial borders and nations. Post-colonialAfricasuffer from civil wars which are stirred up because of the fragmental structure of societies. There are some questions to be answered. Is the Western nation-state model suitable forAfrica? Is nation-building of African states completed? Does good governance or democracy make any sense in a continent where patrimonialism and tribalism are still powerful?

Additionally, Taylorasserts that the main problem of Africais the result of its post-colonial politics. In most of the African states the source of political legitimacy is neo-patrimonialism instead of sovereign will of the people. Without a modern, transparent state system, foreign aids do not help to foster the national economies because corruption is inevitable and elites enjoy unlimited rights and advantages in that system. NEPAD ignores that modern state mentality has not been consolidated in most of the African states. Thus, to hope that these African elites who hold extreme power will give up their privileges voluntarily according to NEPAD’s good governance perspective is not realistic.[55]


NEPAD is an ambitious project which attempts to deal with a wide range of issues that are crucially important forAfrica’s improvement. The initiative addresses the problems that need urgent solutions such as poverty, hunger and pandemic diseases as well as structural problems such as economical development, democratisation (good governance) and security.

NEPAD aims to achieve its objectives by providing domestic ownership of African countries and the support of industrialised states. A real domestic ownership for such a project can only be achieved if all the African states share the same ideals and common interest. Recent experiences show that foreign aid has not been efficient to maintain a sustainable development in African economy. Efficient usage ofAfrica’s sources and a regional integration is necessary for such a development.

Finally, any initiative that ignores the problems originated from the political and sociological realities of Africa seems to be a temporary, short-term attempt which does not cover the deep perspective needed to cureAfrica’s illnesses. NEPAD is a valuable framework to address the problems but is far away to find permanent solutions to them.

[1] The New Partnership forAfrica’s Development (28/04/2006) NEPAD in Brief. Accessed27/04/2009


[2] Hope, K.R. ‘ From crisis to renewal: towards a successful implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’, African Affairs, July 2002, p. 388.

[3] Hope 2002, p. 389.

[4] http://www.nepad.org/2005/files/inbrief.php.

[5] http://www.nepad.org/2005/files/inbrief.php.

[6] Taylor, I. ‘Advice is judged by results not by intentions: why Gordon Brown is wrong about Africa’ International Affairs, March 2005, p. 303.

[7] Hope, K.R. ‘Prospects and Challenges for the NEPAD: Addressing Capacity Deficits’ Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol.24, 2, May 2006, p. 204.

[8] OAU was replaced by African Unity (AU) in 2002.

[9] Nyong’o, P. A. ‘From the Lagos Plan of Action to NEPAD: the dilemmas of progress in independent Africa’, unpublished paper presented to Renaissance South Africa outreach programme continental experts meeting,Pretoria, 17–19 June 2002.

[10] Nyong’o 2002.

[11] Nyong’o 2002.

[12] Nyong’o 2002.

[13] De Waal, A. ‘What’s New in the “New Partnership for Africa’s Development”?’ International Affairs, July 2002, p. 466.

[14] Bongmba, E.K. ‘Reflections on Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance’, Journal of Southern African Studies, June 2004, p.  297.

[15] Olivier, G. ‘Is Thabo Mbeki Africa’s Saviour?’ International Affairs, Vol. 79, 4, 2003, p. 817, 818.

[16] Taylor, I. ‘The Failure of the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development’, Contemporary Review, May 2003, p. 282.

[17] De Waal 2002, p. 463.

[18] De Waal 2002, p. 468.

[19] Landsberg, C., 2002, “NEPAD: What is it? What is Missing?” paper prepared for National Labor, Economic and Development Institute (NALEDI).

[20] De Waal 2002, 469.

[21] The NEPAD Policy Document, Article 71, Oct. 2001 (English version) can be found at http://www.nepad.org/2005/files/documents/inbrief.pdf.

[22] Hope 2002, 390-396.

[23] Maxwell, S & Christiansen, K. ‘ Negotiations as simultaneous equation: building a new partnership with Africa’ International Affairs, July 2002, p. 481.

[24] Maxwell 2002, 481.

[25] Akokpari J., Africa’s quest for long-term development: Does NEPAD provide the Necessary Policy Framework? Abstracts of the 11th General Assembly of CODESRIA on “Rethinking African Development: Beyond Impasse, Towards Alternatives”. Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre,Maputo,Mozambique: 57, 2005, p. 5.

[26] Mistry, P. ‘Reasons for sub-Saharan Africa’s development deficit that the Commission for Africa did not consider’, African Affairs, Oct. 2005, p. 666.

[27] Bafalikike L., ‘Jammeh: ‘Nepad will never work’. (The Gambia)’, New African,September 1 2002.

[28] De Waal 2002, 470.

[29] Commission forAfrica, Our Common Interest, 2005 can be found at http://www.commissionforafrica.org/english/report/thereport/english/11-03-05_cr_report.pdf.

[30] Mistry 2005, 668.

[31] Akokpari 2005, p. 5.

[32] Lesufi I., ‘South Africa and the Rest of the Continent: Towards a Critique of the Political Economy of NEPAD’, Current Sociology, 2004; 52; p. 810.

[33] Akokpari 2005, p. 5.

[34] Landsberg 2002.

[35] Akokpari 2005, p. 1.

[36] Kajee, A. ‘Nepad’s APRM: A Progress Report, Practical Limitations and Challenges’ SA Yearbook of International Affairs, 2003/04, p. 243.

[37] Economic Commission forAfrica (2006), ECA in the APRM Accessed:6/5/2009.


[38] Kajee 2003/04, 246.

[39] Kanbur, R ‘The African Peer Review Mechanism: An Assessment of Concept and Design’, Politikon, Vol.31, 2, Nov. 2004, p. 158-159.

[40] Kajee 2003/04, 252-256.

[41] Jordaan, E. ‘Grist for the Sceptics Mill: Rwanda and the African Peer Review Mechanism’ Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol.25, 3, Sep. 2007, p. 349.

[42] Taylor, I. ‘ The Failure of the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development’, Contemporary Review, May 2003, p. 282.

[43] Akokpari 2005, p. 6.

[44] Akokpari 2005, p. 6.

[45] The NEPAD Policy Document, Article 74.

[46] Akokpari 2005, p. 4.

[47] Akokpari 2005, p. 6.

[48] Hope 2002, 400-401.

[49] Commodities: Agricultural, Africa Research Bulletin, Vol. 40, Number: 12,12/02/2004, p. 15937.

[50] Hope, K.R. ‘Prospects and Challenges for the NEPAD: Addressing Capacity Deficits’ Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Vol.24, 2, May 2006, p. 204.

[51] Hope 2006, 210-215.

[52] Hope 2006, 215.

[53] Hope 2006, 217-222.

[54] Akokpari 2005, p. 7.

[55] Taylor, I. ‘Nepad ignores the fundamental politics of Africa’ Contemporary Review, July 2004.

Written by: Zeynep Bostan
Written at: University of Leicester
Written for: Paul Trickett
Date written: May 2009


Please Consider Donating

Before you download your free e-book, please consider donating to support open access publishing.

E-IR is an independent non-profit publisher run by an all volunteer team. Your donations allow us to invest in new open access titles and pay our bandwidth bills to ensure we keep our existing titles free to view. Any amount, in any currency, is appreciated. Many thanks!

Donations are voluntary and not required to download the e-book - your link to download is below.