1 AFRICAN SCHOLARS’ FORUM FOR ENVISIONING AFRICA A FOCUS ON THE NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT (NEPAD) CONCEPT PAPER INTRODUCTION The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), Africa’s strategy for achieving sustainable development in the 21st Century, was adopted by African leaders at the July 2001 Lusaka Summit. It provides an African initiated and driven framework for interaction with the rest of the world,i with the long-term vision of eradicating poverty and promoting the role of women in all activities. NEPAD is to be “prepared through participatory processes involving the people,” however, until now, it remains unknown to a majority of the African peoples, is barely understood by African development agents, including those in government, and has drawn little interest from African scholars. In light of the pre-eminent position it assumes over other African initiatives, the interest demonstrated by a majority of the developed countries of the initiative, and the potential impact of the September 11 events in the USA on global security, NEPAD calls for a critical interrogation by the African peoples before its full endorsement by the international community as The African Strategy. This concept paper proposes a two-day African Scholars Forum to be held in mid- to late April 2002 to critically examine NEPAD and to subsequently publicize its findings to key stakeholders – African governments, NGOs, academia, media and private sector, bilateral and multilateral agencies and the G-8 Member – through a Critique, Reflection Papers, Forum Report, Policy Briefs and Recommendations. Up to 30 African scholars will be in attendance, including those from the diaspora. Special attention will be given to ensuring participation by a substantial number of women and young scholars. The Workshop is convened as a follow-up to the first African Scholar’s Forum held in September 2001, entitled Sustainable Development, Governance and Globalization: An African Forum for Strategic Thinking and Action towards the Earth Summit 2002 and Beyond. BACKGROUND The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) is the new official name of the New African Initiative.ii NEPAD was adopted in October 2001 at the inaugural meeting of the Implementation Committee of the Heads of State and Government that will oversee the implementation of NEPAD. The New Africa Initiative (NAI) states that it is Africa’s strategy for achieving sustainable development in the 21st Century. The OAU Summit in Lusaka unanimously adopted the NAI on 11 July 2001. iii Thus, the African Ministerial Statement to the World Summit on Sustainable Development states that “the New African Initiative (NAI) should be a framework for sustainable development in Africa….”iv The NAI was a merger of the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme (MAP) and the Omega Plan. The Omega Plan was first presented by Senegal during the January 2001 France-Africa 2 Summit and launched by Senegal in June 2001 at the International Conference of Economists on the Omega Plan. MAP was spearheaded by South Africa with support from Nigeria and Algeria, with the involvement of Senegal and Egypt, and received endorsement from the Extraordinary OAU Summit in March 2001 in Sitre, Libya, which declared the establishment of the African Union. At the inaugural meeting of the Implementation Committee of Heads of State and Government (IC/HOSG) on the NEPAD, the Committee decided that “all other initiatives promoted by individual African countries should be subsumed under the NEPAD process, to represent a basis on which Africa can collectively and effectively cooperate with its development partners.”v Although NEPAD is premised on the determination of Africans to extricate themselves and the Continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion in a globalizing world, it is also a call for a new relationship of partnership between Africa and the international community, particularly the highly industrialized countries, to overcome the development chasm that has widened over centuries of unequal relations.vi In this connection, Nigeria, as Chair of the Implementation Committee presented the NAI to the G-8 and selected African leaders at Chequers, UK, in September 2001. Nigeria also presented NEPAD to the EU and Africa in October 2001 in Brussels, Belgium. In light of the on-going G-8 consultations over the NEPAD, it is anticipated that the G-8 may present their official response to the NEPAD calls for support during their upcoming Summit in June 2002. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Several initiatives have been initiated in the past to support the development of Africa. Among the well- known initiatives are: the 1980 Lagos Plan of Action; the 1986-1990 Priority Programme of Economic Redressing of Africa (PPREA) adopted by the OAU in 1985 and complementary UN Programme for the Economic Redressing and Development of Africa (PANUREDA); and the African Scope of Reference for SAPs for Socio-Economic Redressing and Transformation (CAPRAS).vii However, the potential success of NEPAD is rationalized through its ownership and management by the African leadership, as well as the favorable environmental conditions characterized by global reforms taking place following the demise of the Cold War, the growing number of democracies in Africa and the launch of the African Union. Thus, it is promoted as an agenda set by African peoples through their own initiatives and of their own volition, to shape their own destiny.viii Although all OAU/AU Member States have endorsed NEPAD, a majority of the African populace is unaware of, let alone, familiar with, the initiative. Yet the implementation of the NEPAD has already began, with its secretariat already determined and its establishment in South Africa already under way. Following its presentation to the European Union, the initiative was endorsed by the European partners.ix Plans are already advanced in the preparation of a Private Sector Conference to be held in mid-January 2002 in Dakar, Senegal, in preparation for the March 2002 UN Financing for Development Conference (FfD). A Conference on financing of NEPAD will also be held in Dakar after the FfD Conference. Despite the goodwill demonstrated by governments, this fast track implementation of NEPAD without broad consultation with civil society, or at least ensuring a minimal level of awareness by the public raises a number of concerns. First, this initiative is slated to supersede all other initiatives yet it has undergone little, if any, interrogation by other key actors in Africa’s development, in particular African development and advocacy NGOs, the private sector and the academia. No public debate has been held regarding the 3 extent to which the paradigm at which NEPAD is pitched corresponds to the African reality, dream or vision. This lack of consultation or awareness creation also contradicts the very principles on which the initiative is premised, inter alia, “a people-centered development,” the “expansion of democratic frontiers and the deepening of the culture of human rights…” and the “consolidation of democracy….”x That President Thabo Mbeki, in response to enquiries from the South African Parliamentxi, identified “peer review” as the primary mechanism to ensure democratic principles are respected by all members of the African Union, and the African Commission and Human and Peoples Rights as the primary watchdog of human rights, rather than the African civil society with these institutions as support mechanisms raises concerns regarding the extent to which the African populace can support NEPAD. Third, South Africa, which spearheaded the campaign for NEPAD, will host the inaugural meeting of the African Union in July 2002. There is therefore, the likelihood that the October 2001 decisions of the IC/HOSG of NEPAD, in particular the status of NEPAD in relation to other African initiatives, may be endorsed. Given that some of the aspects identified for partnership such as debt relief and reduction are already under consideration within other fora, there is need to clearly determine the effect of NEPAD on these. Finally, in light of the initial positive response to NEPAD from the G-8 and subsequent events on the USA on September 11, there is a need for institutions of African civil society to examine and monitor the developments of the NEPAD and the G-8 in regard to this partnership in regard to the stated long- term objectives of eradicating poverty and empowering women. This necessitates a critical examination of the extent to which the proposed Partnership can catalyze change in Africa. In addition to supporting civil society activities and preparations towards the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), the African Scholars’ Forum on Envisioning Africa held its first meeting in September 2001 in Nairobi, Kenya, in collaboration with Heinrich Böll Foundation. The purpose of the meeting was to enable African Intellectuals to make an input and have an impact on the WSSD, including its preparatory processes, as well as to critically assess and address how Governance and Globalization have affected sustainable Development in Africa.xii The Conference Proceedings were received positively in Africa and elsewhere. In addition, scholars and policy makers have made strong appeals for a follow-up meeting with a wider agenda on strategic thinking that embraces the New African Initiative, in light of its elevated status in Africa’s development agenda. The April 2002 Workshop is intended to provide the first of a series of initiatives to meet this demand. THE FORUM’S KEY QUESTIONS Regarding the conditions – peace and security, democracy and governance, and economic governance – the Forum will examine, inter alia: a) The paradigm(s) within which the conditions are pitched and their relevance to and/or suitability in Africa b) The extent to which are these conditions pre-requisites for the eradication of poverty and empowerment of women? c) The extent to which they suffice for the effective implementation of the programme of action and proposed partnerships d) The implications for a majority of the African countries, in particular the possibility for their attainment and potential obstacles. e) The gaps that need to be redressed, including the institutional mechanisms necessary to support implementation 4 Regarding the programme of action, the Forum hopes to explore, inter alia: a) The paradigm on which they are premised b) The rationale for the proposed priority actions c) Past experience in the implementation of these programmes and lessons learned d) The potential for the priority areas identified to catalyze action e) The consistency between the programme of action and the environment within which it is premised. f) The potential beneficiaries of the programme of action in relation to the stated long-term objectives of NEPAD g) The way forward Regarding the partnerships proposed, the Forum will assess: a) Potential for the partnerships to realize the long-term objectives of NEPAD b) Lessons learned, if any, regarding partnerships with Africa in the proposed areas c) Implications of the partnerships in light of the paradigm at which the enabling environment is pitched d) Potential orientation of the proposed programme areas in relation to the partnerships and their implication for the long-term objectives of NEPAD e) Recommendations on the partnerships GOAL AND OBJECTIVES Goal The goal of the African Scholars Forum is to provide an independent response from the African academia on the NEPAD with a view to providing effective intellectual guidance in the development and implementation of NEPAD. Objectives The objectives of the African Scholars Forum are: i. To commission the preparation of background papers that can provide the basic intellectual input on NEPAD to the Forum ii. To host a two-day workshop attended by African Scholars from within Africa and the diaspora to undertake a critical interrogation of the conceptual basis of NEPAD and its ability to attain the stated long-term objectives iii. The preparation of products that can be used to raise awareness among key stakeholders, including African governments, African NGOs and developed country partners on the Scholars’ assessment of NEPAD EXPECTED OUTPUTS The expected outputs of the meeting are: i. Critique of the NEPAD: This will provide a summary of the findings of the Scholar’s Forum, drawing from the papers presented, discussions during the two-day workshop and recommendations; ii. Reflection Papers on the NEPAD: these will be edited and compiled from the papers commissioned in the lead-up to the Forum. iii. Forum Report: This will reflect the detailed report of the deliberations during the two-day workshop iv. Policy Briefs: These will be prepared during the post-Forum period, as and when the need arises, with a view to provide critical analyses of the NEPAD and its implementation 5 v. Recommendations: This will constitute a concise output specifically targeting the NEPAD leadership, G-8, European Union and other relevant multilateral partners regarding key issues that my require their consideration WORK PLAN Participants In order to ensure the Forum’s recommendations are viable, three types of participants are envisioned: content specialists – to provide intellectual analyses; geographic/area specialists – to provide regional analyses; and integrationists – to provide implementation options. In order to ensure comprehensive and diverse input, the total number of participants should note be less than 20, however, it should not exceed 30, in order to allow for extensive interaction. The selection criteria of the participants should reflect the following: a) 40 per cent of the participants are women b) equitable geographic representation c) at least 50 percent participants from the academia d) equitable issue/subject representation e) 30 percent of the participants are young (aged below 40 years of age), with half being young women To the extent possible, it is proposed that a maximum of three representatives from the NAI Steering Committee (Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa) are invited to the meeting, in order to draw on their experience and develop potential avenues for follow-up action. The Papers In order to reap maximum benefit from the Forum, there is need to commission research studies that will interrogate the three key components of the NEPAD, namely, the requisite environment, the programme of action, and proposed areas of partnership. As the environment is considered a pre-requisite for the successful implementation of the programme of action (PoA) and partnerships, these papers will need to be prepared early and circulated to those researching on the PoA and partnerships for consideration during the preparation of the papers. One paper each, will be prepared on the three environments identified by NEPAD, namely, peace and conflict, governance and democracy, and economic governance. The questions identified above on each of the subjects could provide the terms of reference in the preparation of the papers. Each of the papers prepared for the Forum will be circulated to the participants prior to their arrival at the Forum in order to ensure sufficient preparation in advance. The papers will be circulated as they are received. The following is the proposed timeframe for the preparation of the papers: Paper Date of Submission of Deadline for Deadline for Submission Abstract (not later than) Submission of 1st Of final version of Paper Draft of Paper (not (not later than) later than) Peace and Conflict 15 February 2002 15 March 2002 15 April 2002 Democracy and 15 February 2002 15 March 2002 15 April 2002 Governance 6 Economic Governance 15 February 2002 15 March 2002 15 April 2002 Programme of Action 15 February 2002 15 March 2002 15 April 2002 Partnerships 15 February 2002 15 March 2002 15 April 2002 To the extent possible, the content specialists should prepare the three papers dealing with the environmental conditions, an area specialist prepares the paper on the PoA and an integrationist prepares the paper on partnerships. The Two-Day Forum This two-day Forum is designed to bring together scholars with diverse conceptual orientations with a view to providing a critical interrogation of NEPAD. The Forum is designed as a working Forum, with four working sessions. Each session will start with the presentation of papers, followed by a brief question and answer session and extensive debate on the issues raised. Altogether, four sessions are planned on the requisite environmental conditions; the PoA; partnerships; and recommendations and follow-up action. In order to reap the maximum from the Forum, each of the papers will identify the four key questions to be considered in depth during each session. In light of the time required to prepare the background papers, the planned NEPAD-related, the African Union and G-8 meetings, and other relevant UN meetings, including the WSSD PrepComs II and III and the UN FfD, it is proposed that the Scholars Forum is held towards the middle or end of April 2002. Outputs of the Forum It is proposed that all the Forum outputs are prepared and disseminated at the earliest possible date. a) Reflection Papers on the NEPAD: It is proposed that these papers are edited immediately upon receipt, and consolidated into one document that is published before the Forum takes place. This means that the published document should be available by end of April 2002. This publication can be distributed free of charge to institutions of higher learning in Africa, and at a fee to development agents in Africa and worldwide. b) Critique of the NEPAD: As one of the Forum’s most important products, this critique should be prepared soon after the conclusion of the Forum. It is proposed that the critique is prepared within 14 days of the conclusion of the Forum and published as a small booklet for distribution at the G- 8 Summit, WSSD PrepCom IV and other relevant fora. c) Forum Report: This will reflect the detailed report of the deliberations during the two-day workshop, and is a useful record for the participants and HBF. It should be completed within 5 days of the conclusion of the meeting, and then edited and circulated by email to the participants for comments within 7 days of the meeting. A final draft – preferably softbound or spiral bound is circulated within 7 days of receipt of participants feedback. d) Policy Briefs: These will are prepared when the need arises. However, the first set of policy briefs (preferably 4-page A5 size) can be prepared on the basis of the issues discussed at the Forum and disseminated within 21 days of the meeting e) Recommendations: In light of the preparations for the G-8 Summit and African Union Summit, a first draft of the recommendations should be prepared and completed at the conclusion of the 7 Workshop. However, the final draft should be distributed within 24 hours of the conclusion of the meeting. Consideration should be given to the possibility of holding a press conference immediately upon conclusion of the Workshop to disseminate the recommendations 8 ENDNOTES i October 2001, New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) ii October 2001, Communiqué Issued at the End of the Meeting of the Implementation Committee of Heads of State and Government of the NEPAD, 23 October 2001 iii July 2001, www.gov.za/, Department of Foreign Affairs, South Africa. Background on the African Union and the New African Initiative iv October 2001, African Ministerial Statement to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Adopted at the African Preparatory Conference for the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Nairobi from 15 to 18 October 2001, document, K0128119 051101 paragraph 13. v ibid. October 2001, Communiqué, paragraph 8. vi Ibid, October 2001, NEPAD (paragraphs 1 and 8). vii June 2001, Abdoulaye Wade. Opening Statement of His Excellency President Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal, during the International Conference of Economists on the Omega Plan. viii ibid, October 2001, NEPAD. Paragraphs 41-7. ix Ibid, October 2001, Communiqué. Paragraph 4. x Ibid, October 2001, NEPAD. Paragraphs 7, 183, 204. xi www.gov.za, October 2001, Response by Mbeki to Parliament on 24 October 2001 xii 2001, Mwangi, Wagaki, Wambui Kiai and Murtaza Jaffer (rapporteurs). Report of the Proceedings. Sustainable Development, Governance and Globalization: An African Forum for Strategic Thinking Towards the Earth Summit 2002 and Beyond. Held 17th-20th September 2001, Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya, page i.