Un-blurring the vision: an assessment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development

Un-blurring the vision: an assessment of the New Partnership for Africa's Development

Has NEPAD neglected the people of Africa ?

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) presents itself as a visionary initiative by African leaders to reconstruct and develop the continent. However, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) argues that NEPAD's vision has been blurred by its focus on increased global integration and rapid private sector growth and its failure to engage with Africa's people.

On a positive note, the paper argues that NEPAD can help:

  • strengthen accountability and effective collaboration between African governments
  • contribute to building peace and stability
  • create an appropriate development model for Africa
  • place Africa's development firmly on the global agenda

However, the paper points out that NEPAD is also failing on several accounts. It:

  • adopts an economic strategy already proven to have negative effects on the poor elsewhere
  • overlooks the negative impact of rapid privatisation of basic and social services on the poor
  • fails to address the underlying power relations that constrain Africa's development
  • does not provide a mechanism to repair the social and environmental damage caused throughout history
Most of all, it has neglected Africa's people both in the process of its construction and in its primary focus.

The paper argues that NEPAD needs to:

  • focus on immediate poverty eradication interventions that will deliver direct benefits to the poor rather looking towards long-term and indirect development
  • prioritise debt cancellation and support investment in social services
  • propose decisive structural changes to the current international financial and trade systems

The SACC make clear their commitment to Africa's development and propose to engage with NEPAD in a spirit of mutual responsibility. The church will also work to promote broad-based popular dialogue on NEPAD and raise public awareness of the issues in which NEPAD proposes Africa should participate