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Africa’s Quest for Long-Term Development: Does NEPAD Provide the Necessary Policy Framework?

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Abstract:

The evasive nature which characterizes Africa’s development is something familiar to all. Various ambitious development strategies, implemented since the 1970s, have brought little hope for the reversal of Africa’s developmental malaise. The formulation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in 2001 and its adoption by the African Union (AU) as the continent’s blueprint policy document for development engendered a lot of optimism. This optimism resulted partly from the willingness of African governments to voluntarily undertake what the continent’s development partners - the G8 - perceived as ‘credible policies’ for resuscitating the ailing economies of the continent, and partly from the promise of assistance in the form of accruing ADE and IDE, debt forgiveness and access to western markets. There is a growing consensus among development experts that the provision of such opportunities would alleviate many of the structural constraints in Africa, consequently catalyzing long-term development. While NEPAD’s emphasis on promoting peace, security, democracy, and good governance is commendable, it is however argued that its propensity to gear development solely along neo-liberal lines is problematic in a continent that is grappling with the disappointments of the market-based structural adjustment programmes (SAP). The paper advocates the adoption of viable regional integration schemes that nurture Africa’s fragile industries, diversify its predominantly primary production-based economies, promote self-reliance and minimise dependence on external agents. This, it is argued, is a better framework for Africa’s longterm development.

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