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

 Related documents

Ensuring a pro-poor focus in agriculture and rural development through NEPAD

Saliem Fakir


IUCN (World Conservation Union) - SA, August 2003

Essay Commissioned by CIFOR

This is a draft paper which has been made available by the author to the Southern African Regional Poverty Network (SARPN) for distribution, particularly in Southern Africa.
[Complete version - 101Kb ~ 1 min (30 pages)]     [ Share with a friend  ]


This paper evaluates the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) strategic focus on issues of agriculture and rural development. The essay takes the form of a critical commentary on the NEPAD Framework. Some of the main points from the paper are:

  • NEPAD's launch takes place in a climate of afro-pessimism, and hence given its boldness, it has a great deal to prove. One of the litmus test of NEPAD's success will be the degree to which it improves governance, peace and stability in Africa. The participation of the G-8 is conditional on seeing improvements in the area of governance.

  • NEPAD is to be seen as a vehicle for co-ordinating on a regional basis the determination of priorities and the flow of development resources that are aligned to these priorities. It views Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) as one of the primary means to achieve poverty reduction targets. NEPAD's role as regards PRSPs is to ensure that they are consistent with NEPAD's overall objectives.

  • NEPAD recognises the central role of agriculture. However, its tilt towards increasing productivity through enhancement of infrastructure and inputs; export led growth through opening regional and international markets; and improving backward and forward linkages through agro-processing leaves the impression that there are still weaknesses in its conception of the overall picture of agriculture. The bias towards a certain model of agriculture-commercial and export orientated-points to gaps in its conception of a more wider and deeper perspective on rural development.

  • The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is the central set-piece or text that defines in more detail NEPAD's vision on agriculture. However, CAADP's solution for drylands farming is far too reliant on the promise of building irrigation schemes. There is not enough on community-based initiatives, or developing long-term strategies for improved natural resource management.

  • The key gaps in the CAADP and the overall NEPAD framework are:

    1. The lack of a strong perspective on the role of sustainable livelihoods in poverty alleviation.
    2. Understanding the linkages between urban and rural sectors, especially since NEPAD specifically espouses a non-rural bias.
    3. The impacts of HIV/AIDs which is not factored in any of the NEPAD text.

  • In the way forward: Couple issues arise as possible areas where further thinking and work needs to be done:

    1. Revisiting the question of NEPAD's proposed model for agricultural development.
    2. Further developing NEPAD's sustainable livelihood perspective.
    3. Introducing a more holistic view on natural resource management.
    4. Ensuring that NEPAD's implementation strategy incorporates a more diverse partnership arrangement than is evident at the moment.

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