Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) SARPN thematic photo
Regional themes > Land Last update: 2020-11-27  

 Related documents

[previous] [table of contents] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [next]

Taking the New Partnership for Africa's Development seriously - November 2002

5. Economic development
NEPAD's vision: It is in the realm of economic policy that the debate about NEPAD is the most intense. It does indeed espouse a free market formula in a manner that seems to differ little from the structural adjustment programs (SAPs) that have fallen into such disrepute. Some have suggested that the only difference between SAPs and NEPAD is that the former is imposed upon Africa by the international financial institutions, while the latter is imposed upon Africa by African governments themselves.

Our concerns and hopes: We share with our partners in Africa and elsewhere serious questions about the foundation of NEPAD's economic policy. Nevertheless, we also read in NEPAD a commitment by African governments to embrace the concerns of poor and marginalized Africans rather than the priorities of an African elite or of northern donor nations. To our mind this requires that they advance economic policies consistent with their vision for economic development, in active consultation with the breadth of African civil society, as opposed to adopting policies demanded by the G-7 nations and international financial institutions.

Toward that end, we embrace those features in NEPAD that commit African governments to advance economic policies that place the private sector firmly in the context of societal needs. This means, for example, that issues of human need and poverty reduction take precedence over a rigid free market economy. Access to water, health care, and education, for example, need to remain in the public sector. In the private sector, labor rights, gender opportunity, and the furtherance of African initiatives rather than those of multinational corporations need to be secured.

To the extent that the NEPAD process affirms such principles, there are aspects of the NEPAD agenda that may well lead to such UN Millennium Development goals of halving the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day, by 2015; halving by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water; and demonstrably improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020.

We profoundly regret the decision to remove from the final version of NEPAD a previous commitment to give legal expression to the protection of the rights of local communities, farmers and breeders, and for the regulation of access to biological resources as envisioned in the OAU Model Legislation. We lift up the strong and growing support it has received from many African governments and from civil society organizations in Africa, North America and throughout the world, and we applaud its recognition by the US Congress in the AFRICA Resolution (107th Congress, H.Con.Res. 260).

US responsibility: To support these development aspirations, we note the following indicators for US policy:
  1. The US government will respect the rights of African governments to define their economic policies and priorities, without insistence upon rigid free market provisions or other economic conditions perceived by African civil society and African governments to be against the interests of African development.

  2. The US government will actively pursue full debt cancellation of multilateral debts owed by African governments.

  3. The US government will remove the barriers which discourage African agricultural exports to the US.

  4. The US government will not only avoid retaliation but will actively support African initiatives to secure access to affordable medicines.

  5. The US government will pursue limits upon the US extractive industry operating in Africa requiring that they meet environmental standards at least equivalent to those required within the US. Such operations should benefit, not hinder, local communities.

  6. The US government will demonstrate a serious commitment to African economic development and community rights through adherence to the principles of the AFRICA Resolution supporting the OAU Model Legislation.

  7. The US government will engage in negotiations leading to the payment and provision of reconstruction assistance to countries where the US was involved, overtly or covertly, in policies or programs of destabilization.

  8. The US government will move forward aggressively toward development assistance levels approaching 0.7% of GNP, without proscriptive structural-adjustment-style conditions.

  9. The US government will remove "tied-aid" conditions for development assistance, by which African nations are required to purchase US products as part of development activities.

  10. The US government will ensure that at least half of development assistance under the Millennial Challenge Account will be directed toward sub-Saharan Africa.

  11. Until the TRIPS agreement is reviewed - as has been requested by African trade ministers - the US government will refrain from negotiating any trade agreement with TRIPS obligations any more stringent than those obligations outlined by the Uruguay Round and held by WTO member nations.

[previous] [table of contents] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [next]

Octoplus Information Solutions Top of page | Home | Contact SARPN | Disclaimer