Library and information support for new partnership for Africa's development (NEPAD).

Author:Nkiko, Christopher


Despite abundant human and natural resources, Africa is adjudged the poorest region of the world. It has 34 out of the 44 countries in the globe classified as "least developed". In trying to solve the problems of underdevelopment, African leaders have a determination to extricate themselves and the continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion in globalizing world. No one, no matter how benevolent, can identify and seek lasting solutions to the continent's impoverishment except Africans. It behooves our leaders to galvanize all available forces to redefine our external relationships, strengthen internal dynamics, and harness collective talents and will for making life more meaningful.

Bukarambe (2004) avers that Africa is the poorest and most marginalized of all continents, with about half of its population living below the poverty line on less than $1 a day. There is impatience among a vanguard group, the rank and file of Africa, to reverse this hardship and to create a standard of living comparable to other continents.

NEPAD is one of the most efforts to address the issue of sustainable development on the continent. Izeze (2004), citing the African Development Bank, defines NEPAD as a holistic, integrated, strategic development plan to enhance growth and poverty reduction in Africa by focusing key social, economic, and political priorities in a coherent and balanced manner. African leaders formed a common vision and a shared conviction that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and place their countries on a path of sustainable growth and development and participate in the world economy and body politic.

It is designed to tackle the challenges facing the African continent. NEPAD is a programme of cooperation, not dependence. Kufour (2004) describes NEPAD as the beginning of a new order that requires patience and persistence to realize its lofty ideals. According to him, the days of warlords and coup-makers are passing away, while constitutional democracy is fast crystallizing in Africa, thus creating an atmosphere conducive to true emancipation.

Kairos (2004) claims that NEPAD proposes to continue using old neo-liberal models of development that have failed Africa, and does not offer any hope for a turnaround of poverty, further asserting that NEPAD will create a situation in which poor countries like Malawi continue to suffer economic exploitation by larger economies in the name of regional development.

Kwinjeh (2004), in the same vein, contends that Zimbabwe is not among the core-group of 16 African countries driving the initiative and appears to have been excluded from its scope by the sponsors. She advocates that Zimbabweans reject NEPAD, describing it as illegitimate and offering no solutions for their political and economic development.

The NEPAD initiative would allow some expensive projects in the region to be pursued jointly and be cost effective. It will also promote direct foreign investment. Nevertheless, the dissenting views in Africa as exemplified above must not be ignored. Transparency, wider and grass root participation are imperatives for the success of the project.

Objectives and Strategies of NEPAD

This new framework represents Africa 's doctrines and strategies to develop and positively reestablish it in world affairs. The core objectives of NEPAD are:

* Accelerate the eradication of poverty

* Promote accelerated growth and sustainable development

* Halt the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process

* Accelerate the empowerment of women

Melber (2002) reports that for the achievement of its broad objectives, NEPAD has identified these measurable goals and tasks:

* Strengthen the mechanism for conflict prevention, management and resolution and ensure that they are used to restore and maintain peace;

* Promote and protect democracy and human rights by developing clear standards of accountability, transparency, and participative governance

* Restore and maintain macroeconomic stability by developing standards and targets for fiscal and monetary policies and appropriate institutional frameworks;


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