Friday, 22 June 2007

NEPAD IS DEAD

By Gershom Ndhlovu

A few years ago, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) was on everybody’s lips, more so among African presidents who even embarked on jaunts from one capital city to another proclaiming the new initiative which was to bring an end to the continent’s social and economic woes.
A few days ago, one of the architects of the same NEPAD, Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade declared it effectively dead. In other words, NEPAD has not lived up to its vision, mission and objectives, but rather only served as a meeting point for African heads of state.
NEPAD was meant to commit African leaders to promote democracy and good governance in return for increased Western investment, trade and debt relief, but President Wade said that it had proved no more than a talking shop."I've decided no longer to waste my time going to meetings where nothing gets done. It's very agreeable to meet among ourselves but it doesn't drive things forward," Wade said in an interview last week on West African TV channel Africable and quoted on Independent Online website, www.int.iol.co.za.
"Expenses adding up to hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on trips, on hotels. But not a single classroom has been built, not a single health centre completed. NEPAD has not done what it was set up for," he said.
NEPAD’s key objectives are to eradicate poverty, put African countries on a path of sustainable development and prevent Africa being marginalised in the process of globalisation.
But then, who can fault President Wade whose Omega Plan formed the genesis of NEPAD alongside South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki’s Millennium African Programme (MAP), and a couple of others?
One can understand the frustrations of the man who has since declared that the relationship between his country and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will no longer be that of borrower and lender, but simply a facilitator of economic development in his country.
President Wade says his country, and indeed by extension Africa, has a lot of natural resources for its people to wallow in poverty. Yet today, boatloads of Africans from almost all countries perilously float on the Atlantic Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea hoping to land on the shores of European countries for a better life when the continent can adequately provide for its peoples if only with a determined leadership not driven by kleptomania.
A key part of NEPAD was the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), under which governments were to open themselves up to scrutiny by a panel of African leaders. But so far, less than half of the 53 members of the African Union have signed up for the process.
This is in a continent where leaders can freely batter their opponents like in the case of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and in the case of Darfur in Sudan, a government can freely engage in genocide by Arabic citizens against Blacks while they all look on.
Nobody has the courage to question leaders such as Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi on the apparent racism perpetrated by Arabic citizens on Black Sub-Saharan Africans who, legally or otherwise, find their way into that country to seek jobs.
Not to rock each other’s boats, African leaders are still encumbered with the archaic diplomatic notion of not interfering in internal affairs of other sovereign nations on the continent.
Several months ago I wrote on this very forum how the attainment of the United States of Africa is a far-fetched dream for this and other reasons.
While still on this issue, I thought that President Mwanawasa on his recent visit to the UK could have taken advantage to meet the incoming Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss with him issues not only on Zambia but Africa as a whole.
Mr Brown, who has been Chancellor of the Exchequer for the last 10 years, is very passionate about Africa and an opportunity like that could have just been perfect to buoy NEPAD’s flagging fortunes.—gndhlovu@yahoo.com.

8 comments:

MrK said...

http://gndhlovu.blogspot.com/


Yet today, boatloads of Africans from almost all countries perilously float on the Atlantic Oceans and the Mediterranean Sea hoping to land on the shores of European countries for a better life when the continent can adequately provide for its peoples if only with a determined leadership not driven by kleptomania.

I think kleptomania is just a symptom, because it is part of a system.

The system works like this.

1) Western corporations own Africa's natural resources
2) African politicians willing to facilitate this exploitation of their country and people are cannonized.
3) Corruption, mismanagement, brutality are overlooked and are (for instance) not cause for the IMF or World Bank to stop lending to these regimes - why not? Because it is irrelevant to them. Just as dead white farmers in Zimbabwe OR South Africa are irrelevant to them. The only thing that gets them excited is when someone breaks ranks and says 'I will not implement your Structural Adjustment Programme or sell off state assets.
4) Anyone who says no to the IMF (Kenneth Kaunda, Robert Mugabe) has their economy destroyed by a cutoff of foreign exchange to their country.

The way out of this position, is to make sure that our economies consist of a myriad of local economies, that trade with eachother, especially regionally, instead of producing for distant foreign markets.

Profits from the mines should be used to build infrastructure and lower taxes.

I hope you have read my Manifesto for Economic Transformation. I would like to see it as a living document, so if you want to add to it, please feel free.

Unlike NEPAD, it contains very practical suggestions for improving our economies in a selfsustaining and selfperpetuating way, continuing for centuries to come.

If for instance the WB demanded that

- 50% of natioanal revenues was handed to local government
- all government expenditures and income are monitored

we would be in a completely different situation today.

I also discuss land and agrarian reform, and of course the mines, which are Zambia's economic lifeblood and future.

Cho said...

I always thought NEPAD was doomed to fail. Everyone knows what needs to happen for Africa to develop. What is lacking is political will.

Change in Africa will take time. It took years before western nations embraced democratic ideals.

Yakima said...

Good blog Gershom!

Thanks for calling my attention to the fate of NEPAD, especially the demise of the peer review mechanism. Perhaps a better approach would be instead of seeking a minimal standard which all African nations can agree on and comply with, to set a high standard with additional partnership benefits which nations can avail themselves of only after they have individually cleared the standard. I think that's how they grew the EU. I'm not sure, maybe this was the intent behind the Millenium Development Goals as well.

What sort of peer review/anti-corruption infrastructure would you like to see in place for Zambia?

Gershom said...

Yakima, I'm sorry not to have responded earlier. This was due to other commitments that required my attention.
On the issues of peer review/anti-corruption infrastructure vis-a-viz the Zambian case, I think what we need in the case of peer review is that political parties themselves must be thorough in the choice of person they need to lead them, eliminating people of dubious and corrupt character. Just think of it, when the president is choosing people for various offices, he subjects such names for checks by security agencies, therefore, why should political parties weed out undesirable elements? But what obtains in our case is "who is able to buy the most drums of chibuku and distribute more T-shirts and chitenge than others?" An elightened citizenry should be able to see through this kind of bribery.
On the anti-corruption front, the obvious thing is to build the capacity of the ACC and improve the forward and backward linkages between other security agencies such as DEC and the police so that these organs work as effectively where one or the other has no presence. Another obvious aspect is stregthening anti-corruption legislation by giving the ACC a lot more power to widen the scope of their operations. Above all, corruption prevention education should be an everyday issue in communities.
These are my thoughts on the issue you raised.

Yakima said...

Gershom,

Thanks for your thoughtful answer! I agree that a lot more effectiveness can be had for the same effort if there are mechanisms in place to, "improve the forward and backward linkages between other security agencies." -Gershom

One such mechanism that apparently worked quite well for the US military after WWII when they formed the Joint Command to put army, navy and air forces under a single umbrella, was to link cross-certification to certain types of promotion. Once mid-rank officers knew that in order to become high-rank officers they would have to pass a review by each of the other branches, they quickly starting promoting joint operations within their commands instead of infighting over operational "turf".

If an ACC officer were required to get approval from both DEC and other policing agencies in order to advance their own career, and vice versa for personnel in the other security agencies, then they will cultivate cooperation across agency boundaries as a matter of course.

Without trying to force you into voicing "t-shirt slogans", are there some simple corruption prevention lessons which could be widely distributed and easily understood/applied? Songs can work well, especially for young people, and checklists can help consumers to know if they've asked all the right questions (even if the answers make no sense). Maybe we can fight fire with fire, or in this case slogans with slogans?

Gershom said...

First and foremost, identifying areas of high corruption potential such as Passports Office, ZRA, and the police and engage these people on the subject and also engage the users of the services who are potential victims, and so on and so forth.
A vigorous public relations approach such as the one employed by DEC can, in my view, be a deterrent to potentially corrupt.
This is obviously not cheap, but it would pay off in the long run.

MrK said...

Gershom,

First and foremost, identifying areas of high corruption potential such as Passports Office, ZRA, and the police and engage these people on the subject and also engage the users of the services who are potential victims, and so on and so forth.

Check out Lee Kuan Yew's biography. In "From Third World To First - The Singapore story 1965-2000", Chapter 12, "Keeping Government Clean", gives an almost point by point description of Zambia's problems.

His solutions are very practical.

" We decided to concentrate on the big takers. For the smaller fish we set out simple procedures and remove discretion by having clear published guidelines, even doing away with permits or approvals in less important areas. As we ran into problems in securing convictions in prosecutions, we tightened the law in stages. "

" The most effective change we made in 1960 was to allow the courts to treat proof that an individual was living beyond his means or had property his or her income could not explain as corroborating evidence that the accused had accepted or obtained a bribe. With a keen nose to the ground and the power to investigate every officer and every minister, the director of the CPIB, working from the Prime Minister's office, developed a justly formidable reputation for sniffing out those betraying the public trust. "

And he goes on. The issues seem very similar.

Carly Gleason said...

I always thought NEPAD was doomed to fail. Everyone knows what needs to happen for Africa to develop. What is lacking is political will. Change in Africa will take time. It took years before western nations embraced democratic ideals.