A New African
(NOTE: THIS DOCUMENT WAS APPROVED BY THE OAU SUMMIT ON 11 JULY 2001)
Abbreviations and Acronyms
AGOA Africa Growth and Opportunity Act
AU African Union
CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research
DAC Development Assistance Committee
EBA "Everything But Arms"
ECA Economic Commission on Africa
ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States
FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation
FARA Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GEF Global Environment Facility
GESI Global Environmental Sanitation Initiative
GIS Geographic Information System
GNP Gross National Product
GSP Generalised System of Preferences
HIPC Highly Indebted Poor Country
IAF International Accreditation Forum
ICT Information and Communications Technology
IDA International Development Assistance
IDG International Development Goal
IEC International Electrotechnical Commission
IMF International Monetary Fund
ISO International Standards Organisation
NBI National Business Incubator
OAU Organisation of African Unity
ODA Overseas Development Assistance
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PPP Public-Private Partnership
PRSP Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper
RETOSA Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa
SADC Southern African Development Community
TBT Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade
UN United Nations
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organisation
WTO World Trade Organisation
1. This new African initiative is a pledge by African leaders, based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction, that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development, and at the same time to participate actively in the world economy and body politic. The Programme is anchored on the determination of Africans to extricate themselves and the continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion in a globalising world.
2. The poverty and backwardness of Africa stand in stark contrast to the prosperity of the developed world. The continued marginalisation of Africa from the globalisation process and the social exclusion of the vast majority of its peoples constitute a serious threat to global stability.
3. Since the 1970s, and their accession to the institutions of the international community, the credit and aid binomial has underlined the logic of African development. Credit has led to the debt deadlock, which, from instalments to rescheduling, still exists and hinders the growth of African countries. The limits of this option have been reached. Concerning the other element of the binomial – aid – we can also note the reduction of private aid and the upper limit of public aid, which is contrary to the 1970s objectives.
4. In Africa, 340 million people, or half the population, live on less than US $1 per day. The mortality rate of children under 5 years of age is 140 per 1000, and life expectancy at birth is only 54 years. Only 58 per cent of the population have access to safe water. The rate of illiteracy for people over 15 is 41 per cent. There are only 18 mainline telephones per 1000 people in Africa, compared with 146 for the world as a whole and 567 for high-income countries.
5. The initiative calls for the reversal of this abnormal situation by changing the relationship that underpins it. Africans are appealing neither for the further entrenchment of dependency through aid, nor for marginal concessions.
6. We are convinced that an historic opportunity presents itself to end the scourge of underdevelopment that afflicts Africa. The resources, including capital, technology and human skills, that are required to launch a global war on poverty and underdevelopment exist in abundance, and are within our grasp. What is required to mobilise these resources and to use them properly, is bold and imaginative leadership that is genuinely committed to a sustained effort of human upliftment and poverty eradication, as well as a new global partnership based on shared responsibility and mutual interest.
7. Across the continent, Africans declare that we will no longer allow ourselves to be conditioned by circumstance. We will determine our own destiny and call on the rest of the world to complement our efforts. There are already signs of progress and hope. Democratic regimes that are committed to the protection of human rights, people-centred development and market-oriented economies are on the increase. African peoples have begun to demonstrate their refusal to accept poor economic and political leadership. These developments are, however, uneven and inadequate and need to be further expedited.
8. The African initiative is about consolidating and accelerating these gains. It is a call for a new relationship of partnership between Africa and the international community, especially the highly industrialised countries, to overcome the development chasm that has widened over centuries of unequal relations.
9. Africa’s place in the global community is defined by the fact that the continent is an indispensable resource base that has served all humanity for so many centuries.
10. These resources can be broken down into the following components:
10.1 The rich complex of mineral, oil and gas deposits, its flora and fauna, and its wide unspoiled natural habitat, which provide the basis for mining, agriculture, tourism and industrial development (Component I);
10.2 The ecological lung provided by the continent’s rain forests, and the minimal presence of emissions and effluents that are harmful to the environment – a global public good that benefits all humankind (Component II);
10.3 The palaeontological and archaeological sites containing evidence of the evolution of the earth, life and the human species. The natural habitats containing a wide variety of flora and fauna, unique animal species and the open uninhabited spaces that are a feature of the continent (Component III);
10.4 The richness of Africa’s culture and its contribution to the variety of the cultures of the global community (Component IV).
11. The first of these, Component I, is the one with which the world is most familiar. The second, Component II, has only come to the fore recently, as humanity came to understand the critical importance of the issue of the environment. The third, Component III, is also now coming into its own, emerging as a matter of concern not only to a narrow field of science or of interest only to museums and their curators. The fourth of these, Component IV, represents the creativity of African people, which in many important ways remains underexploited and underdeveloped.
12. Africa has a very important role to play with regard to the critical issue of the protection of the environment. African resources include rain forests, the virtually carbon dioxide-free atmosphere above the continent and the minimal presence of toxic effluents in the rivers and soils that interact with the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean and Red Seas. The African initiative will contain a
strategy for nurturing these resources and using them for the development of and trade by the African peoples, while preserving them for all humanity.
13. It is obvious that, unless the communities in the vicinity of the tropical forests are given alternative means of earning a living, they will cooperate in the destruction of the forests. As the preservation of these environmental assets is in the interests of humanity, it is imperative that Africa be placed on a development path that does not put them in danger.
14. Modern science recognises Africa as the cradle of humankind. As part of the process of reconstructing the identity and self-confidence of the peoples of Africa, it is necessary that this contribution to human existence be understood and valued by Africans themselves. Africa’s status as the birthplace of humanity should be cherished by the whole world as the origin of all its peoples. Accordingly, the African initiative must preserve this common heritage and use it to build a universal understanding of the historic need to end the underdevelopment and marginalisation of the continent.
15. Africa also has a major role to play in maintaining the strong link between human beings and the natural world. Technological developments tend to emphasise the role of human beings as a factor of production, competing for their place in the production process with their contemporary or future tools. The open uninhabited spaces, the flora and fauna, and the diverse animal species that are unique to Africa offer a rare experience for humanity to maintain its link with nature. Africa is uniquely placed to offer this asset to humanity.
16. Africa has already made a significant contribution to world culture through literature, music, visual arts and other cultural forms, but her real potential remains untapped because of her limited integration into the global economy. The African initiative will enable Africa to increase her contribution to science, culture and technology.
17. In this new millennium, when humanity is searching for a new way to build a better world, it is critical that we bring to bear the combination of these attributes and the forces of human will to place the continent on a pedestal of equal partnership in advancing human civilisation.
18. The impoverishment of the African continent was accentuated primarily by the legacy of colonialism, the Cold War, the workings of the international economic system and the inadequacies of and shortcomings in the policies pursued by many countries in the post-independence era.
19. For centuries, Africa has been integrated into the world economy mainly as a supplier of cheap labour and raw materials. Of necessity, this has meant the draining of Africa’s resources rather than their use for the continent’s development. The drive in that period to use the minerals and raw materials to develop manufacturing industries and a highly skilled human base to sustain growth and development was lost. Thus, Africa remains the poorest continent despite being one of the most richly endowed regions of the world.
20. In other countries and on other continents, the direct opposite happened. There was an infusion of wealth in the form of investments, which created larger volumes of wealth through the export of value-added products. It is time that African resources are harnessed to expand wealth creation on the continent for the well-being of her peoples.
21. Colonialism subverted hitherto traditional structures, institutions and values or made them subservient to the economic and political needs of the imperial powers. It also retarded the development of an entrepreneurial class, as well as a middle class with skills and managerial capacity.
22. At independence, virtually all the new states were characterised by a shortage of skilled professionals and a weak capitalist class, resulting in a weakening of the accumulation process. Post-colonial Africa inherited weak states and dysfunctional economies that were further aggravated by poor leadership, corruption and bad governance in many countries. These two factors, together with the divisions caused by the Cold War, hampered the spread of accountable governments across the continent.
23. Many African governments did not empower their peoples to embark on development initiatives to realise their creative potential. Today, the weak state remains a major constraint to sustainable development in a number of countries. Indeed, one of Africa’s major challenges is to strengthen the capacity to govern and
to develop long-term policies. At the same time, there is also the urgent need to implement far-reaching reforms and programmes in many African states.
24. The structural adjustment programmes provided only a partial solution. They promoted reforms that tended to remove serious price distortions, but gave inadequate attention to the provision of social services. As a consequence, only a few countries managed to achieve sustainable higher growth under these programmes.
25. Indeed, Africa’s experience shows that the rate of accumulation in the post-colonial period has not been sufficient to rebuild societies in the wake of colonial underdevelopment, or to sustain improvement in the standard of living. This has had further corrosive effects on the political process and has increased patronage and corruption.
26. The net effect of these processes has been the entrenchment of a vicious cycle, in which economic decline, reduced capacity and poor governance reinforce each other, thus confirming Africa’s peripheral and diminishing role in the world economy. Over the centuries, Africa has become defined as, of necessity, the marginalised continent.
27. The African initiative seeks to build on and celebrate the achievements of the past, as well as reflect on the lessons learned through painful experience, so as to establish a partnership that is both credible and capable of implementation. In doing so, the injunction is for the peoples and governments of Africa to gain the conviction that development is a process of empowerment and self-reliance. Accordingly, Africans must not be wards of benevolent guardians; rather they must be the architects of their own sustained upliftment.
28. The world has entered the new millennium in the midst of an economic revolution. This revolution could provide both the context and the means for Africa’s rejuvenation. While globalisation has increased the cost of Africa’s ability to compete, we hold that the advantages of an effectively managed integration present the best prospects for future economic prosperity and poverty reduction.
29. The current economic revolution has, in part, been made possible by advances in information and communications technology (ICT), which have reduced the cost and increased the speed of communications across the globe, abolishing pre-existing barriers of time and space, and in consequence affecting all areas of social and economic life. It has made possible the integration of national systems of production and finance, and is reflected in incredible growth in the scale of cross-border flows of goods, services and capital.
30. The integration of national systems of production has made it possible to "slice up the value chain" in many manufacturing and service-sector production processes. At the same time, the greater mobility of finance means that borrowers, whether governments or private entities, must compete with each other for capital in global rather than national markets. Both these processes have increased the costs to those countries that are unable to compete effectively. To a large extent, these costs have been borne disproportionately by Africa.
31. While no corner of the world has escaped the effects of globalisation, the contributions of the various regions and nations have differed markedly. The locomotive for these major advances is the highly industrialised nations. Outside this domain, only a few countries in the developing world play a substantial role in the global economy. Many developing countries, especially in Africa, contribute passively, and mainly on the basis of their environmental and resource endowments.
32. It is in the distribution of benefits that the global imbalance is most glaring. On the one hand, opportunities have increased to expand wealth, acquire knowledge and skills, and improve access to goods and services – in brief, to improve the quality of life. In some parts of the world, the pursuit of greater openness to the global economy has created opportunities for lifting millions of people out of poverty.
33. On the other hand, greater integration has also led to the further marginalisation of those countries that are unable to compete effectively. In the absence of fair and just global rules, globalisation has increased the ability of the strong to advance their interests to the detriment of the weak, especially in the areas of trade, finance and technology. It has limited the space for developing countries to control their own development. The conditions of those marginalised in this process have worsened in real terms. A fissure between inclusion and exclusion has emerged within and among nations.
34. In part, Africa’s inability to harness the process of globalisation is a result of structural impediments to growth and development in the form of resource outflows and unfavourable terms of trade. At the same time, we recognise that failures of political and economic leadership in many African countries impede the coherent mobilisation of resources into productive areas of activity in order to attract and facilitate domestic and foreign investment.
35. The low level of economic activity means that the instruments necessary for the real injection of private funds and risk-taking are not available, and the result is a further decline. In this self-perpetuating cycle, Africa’s capacity to respond to globalisation is weakened, leading to further marginalisation. The increasing polarisation of wealth and poverty is one of a number of processes that have accompanied globalisation, and which threaten its sustainability.
36. The closing years of the last century saw a major financial collapse in much of the developing world, which not only threatened the stability of the global financial system, but also the global economy as a whole. One of the immediate effects of the financial crisis was the exacerbation of existing levels of deep, structural poverty in which about half of the world’s population lives on less than US $2 per day, and a fifth on less than US $1 per day.
37. There also exist slower dynamics that pose longer-term risks. These include the rapid increase in the numbers of the socially excluded in different zones of the globe, contributing to political instability, civil war and military conflict on the one hand, and a new pattern of mass migration on the other. The expansion of industrial production and the growth in poverty contribute to environmental degradation of our oceans, atmosphere and natural vegetation. If not addressed, these will set in motion processes that will increasingly slip beyond the control of governments, both in developed and developing countries.
38. The means to reverse this gloomy scenario are not yet beyond our reach. Improvements in the living standards of the marginalised offer massive potential for growth in the entire international economy, through the creation of new markets and by harnessing increased economic capacity. This will bring with it greater stability on a global scale, accompanied by the social well-being and cultural exuberance that thrive in conditions of certainty.
39. The imperative of development, therefore, not only poses a challenge to moral conscience; it is in fact fundamental to the sustainability of the globalisation process. We readily admit that globalisation is a product of scientific and technological advances, many of which have been market-driven. Yet, governments – particularly those in the developed world – have, in partnership with the private sector, played an important role in shaping its form, content and course.
40. The case for the role of national authorities and private institutions in guiding the globalisation agenda along a sustainable path and, therefore, one in which its benefits are more equally spread, remains strong. Experience shows that, despite the unparalleled opportunities that globalisation has offered to some previously poor countries, there is nothing inherent in the process that automatically reduces poverty and inequality.
41. What is needed is a commitment on the part of governments, the private sector and other institutions of civil society, to the genuine integration of all nations into the global economy and body politic. This requires the recognition of global interdependence in respect of production and demand, the environmental base that sustains the planet, cross-border migration, a global financial architecture that rewards good socio-economic management, and global governance that recognises partnership among all peoples. We hold that it is within the capacity of the international community to create fair and just conditions in which Africa can participate effectively in the global economy and body politic.
42. The African initiative recognises that there have been attempts in the past to set out continent-wide development programmes. For a variety of reasons, both internal and external, including questionable leadership and ownership by Africans themselves, these have been less than successful. However, there is today a new set of circumstances, which lend themselves to integrated practical implementation.
43. The new phase of globalisation coincided with the reshaping of international relations in the aftermath of the Cold War. This is associated with the emergence of new concepts of security and self-interest, which encompass the right to development and the eradication of poverty. Democracy and state legitimacy have been redefined to include accountable government, a culture of human rights and popular participation as central elements.
44. Significantly, the numbers of democratically elected leaders are on the increase. Through their actions, they have declared that the hopes of Africa’s peoples for a better life can no longer rest on the magnanimity of others.
45. Across the continent, democracy is spreading, backed by the African Union (AU), which has shown a new resolve to deal with conflicts and censure deviation from the norm. These efforts are reinforced by voices in civil society, including associations of women, youth and the independent media. In addition, African governments are much more resolute about regional and continental goals of economic cooperation and integration. This serves both to consolidate the economic turnaround and to reinforce the advantages of mutual interdependence.
46. The changed conditions in Africa have already been recognised by governments across the world. The United Nations Millennium Declaration, adopted in September 2000, confirms the global community’s readiness to support Africa’s efforts to address the continent’s underdevelopment and marginalisation. The Declaration emphasises support for the prevention of conflict and the establishment of conditions of stability and democracy on the continent, as well as for the key challenges of eradicating poverty and disease. The Declaration further points to the global community’s commitment to enhance resource flows to Africa, by improving aid, trade and debt relationships between Africa and the rest of the world, and by increasing private capital flows to the continent. It is now important to convert these commitments into reality.
47. The African initiative centres around African ownership and management.
Through this programme, African leaders are setting an agenda for the renewal of the continent. The agenda is based on national and regional priorities and development plans that must be prepared through participative processes involving the people. We believe that while our African leaders derive their mandates from these plans, it is their role to articulate them as well as lead the processes of implementation on behalf of the people.
The programme is a new framework of interaction with the rest of the world, including the industrialised countries and multilateral organisations. It is based on the agenda set by African peoples through their own initiatives and of their own volition, to shape their own destiny.
To achieve these objectives, African leaders will take joint responsibility for the following:
48. The strategy embodies the following structure:
A. Preconditions for development:
1. Peace, security, democracy and political governance
2. Economic and corporate governance, with a focus on public finance management
3. Regional cooperation and integration
B. Priority sectors:
2. Information and communications technology
3. Human development, with a focus on health and education and skills development
5. Promoting diversification of production and exports, with a focus on market access for African exports to industrialised countries
C. Mobilising resources:
1. Increasing savings and capital inflows via further debt relief, increased ODA flows and private capital, as well as better management of public revenue and expenditure
49. LONG-TERM OBJECTIVE
51. The strategy has the following expected outcomes:
52. Realising that unless something new and radical is done, Africa will not achieve the IDGs and the 7 per cent annual GDP growth rate, the African Heads of State propose the programme described below. The programme is anchored on key themes and is supported by a detailed programme of action.
A. Preconditions for Development
53.1 Promotion of peace, democracy, human rights and sound economic management
African leaders have learnt from their own experiences that peace, security, democracy, good governance, human rights and sound economic management are conditions for sustainable development. They are making a pledge to work, both individually and collectively, to promote these principles in their countries, regions and the continent.
Strengthening of the capacity of the state is a critical aspect of creating conditions for development. The state has a major role to play in promoting economic growth and development and in the implementation of poverty reduction programmes. However, the reality is that many governments lack the capacity to fulfil this role. As a consequence, many countries lack the necessary policy frameworks and regulatory structures that provide the rules of the game for the private sector. They also lack the capacity to implement programmes even when funding is available.
It is for this reason that targeted capacity building should be given a high priority. Programmes in every area must be preceded by an assessment of capacity, followed by the provision of appropriate support as needed.
53.2 Regional cooperation and economic integration
Most African countries are small, both in terms of population and per capita incomes. As a consequence of limited markets, they do not offer attractive returns to potential investors, while progress in diversifying production and exports is retarded. This limits investment in essential infrastructure that depends on economies of scale for viability.
These economic conditions show the need for African countries to pool their resources and enhance regional cooperation and economic integration on the continent, in order to improve international competitiveness. The five regional economic groupings of the continent must be strengthened: West Africa, North Africa, Central Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa.
The African initiative focuses on the provision of essential regional public goods (such as transport, energy, water, ICT, disease eradication, environmental preservation, and provision of regional research capacity), as well as the promotion of intra-African trade and investments. The focus will be on rationalising the institutional framework for economic integration, by identifying common projects compatible with integrated country and regional development programmes, and on the harmonisation of economic and investment policies and practices. There needs to be coordination of national sector policies and effective monitoring of regional decisions.
The African initiative will give priority to the building of capacity to enhance the effectiveness of existing regional structures and the rationalisation of existing regional organisations. The African Development Bank must play a leading role in financing regional studies, programmes and projects.
The special circumstances of Africa’s small island countries should be given recognition in integration efforts.
B. Priority Sectors
53.3 Bridging the gaps in infrastructure
Infrastructure is one of the major parameters of economic growth, and solutions should be found to permit Africa to rise to the level of developed countries in terms of the accumulation of material capital and human capital.
If Africa had the same basic infrastructure as developed countries, it would be in a more favourable position to focus on production and improving productivity for international competition. The structural gap in infrastructure constitutes a very serious handicap to economic growth and poverty reduction. Improved infrastructure, including the cost and reliability of services, would benefit both Africa and the international community, which would be able to obtain African goods and services more cheaply.
In many African countries, the colonisers built the infrastructure needed for exportation of African raw materials and importation into Africa of their industrial goods.
If infrastructure is to improve in Africa, private foreign finance is essential to complement the two traditional funding methods, namely credit and aid.
53.4 Information and Communications Technology
In Africa, poor ICT infrastructure, combined with weak policy and regulatory frameworks and limited human resources, has resulted in inadequate access to affordable telephones, broadcasting, computers and the Internet. African teledensity remains below one line per 100 people. Service costs are also high: the connection cost in Africa averages 20 per cent of GDP per capita, compared with the world average of 9 per cent, and 1 per cent for high-income countries. Africa has been unable to capitalise on ICT as a tool in enhancing livelihoods and creating new business opportunities, and cross-border linkages within the continent and with global markets have been constrained. Though many countries in Africa have started ICT policy reforms, service penetration, quality or tariffs have not yet improved.
The strategic priority is improved access for households and firms, with a short-term objective of doubling teledensity to two lines per 100 people by 2005, with an adequate level of access. Affordability must also be addressed: lower cost and improved service reliability for firms will lower the costs of production and transactions throughout the economy, and enhance growth. Doubling teledensity by 2005 will require an estimated investment in excess of US $8 billion in core infrastructure alone. Africa’s telecommunications operators (public and private) do not have sufficient resources.
Attracting private sector investors requires a comprehensive, integrated and well-coordinated strategy involving policy and regulatory reform, the creation of a human resource base for the sector, including engineering and software skills, a focus on applications and content that add value to networks, and the development of effective financing mechanisms, including public-private partnerships (PPPs).
53.5 Human development: health and education
Human development is about expanding people’s choices and enabling them to enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. The programme endorses the multipronged poverty reduction programmes that are championed by a number of multilateral development agencies and donors. It calls for increased investment by both African governments and development partners in education, health, the provision of clean water and energy, and the expansion of income-earning opportunities for the poor.
Africa is the realm of major endemic diseases. Bacteria and parasites carried by insects, the movement of people and other carriers thrive, favoured as they are by weak environment policy and mediocre living conditions. One of the major impediments facing African development efforts is the widespread incidence of communicable diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Unless these epidemics are slowed down and eventually stopped, real gains in human development will remain an impossibility.
In the health sector, Africa compares very poorly with the rest of the international community. In 1997, child and juvenile death rates were 105 and 169 per 1000, as against 6 and 7 per 1000 respectively in developed countries. Life expectancy is 48.9 years, as against 77.7 years in developed countries. Only 16 doctors are available per 100 000 inhabitants against 253 in industrialised countries. Poverty, reflected in very low per capita incomes, is one of the major factors limiting the populations’ capacity to address their health problems.
Nutrition is also an input into health status. The average daily intake of calories varies from 2384 in low-income countries to 2846 in middle-income countries to 3390 in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.
Health (defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a state of complete physical and mental well-being) contributes to the increase of productivity and consequently to economic growth. The most obvious effects of health improvement on the working population are the reduction in lost working days due to sick leave, the increase of productivity, and the chance to get better paid jobs. Eventually, improvement in health and nutrition directly contributes to higher well-being as the spread of diseases is controlled, child death rates are reduced, life expectancy is lengthened, and students’ learning capacity is strengthened. The link to the fight against poverty is clearly established.
The key problems in education in Africa are the poor facilities and inadequate systems under which the vast majority of Africans receive their training. Africans who have had the opportunity of obtaining training elsewhere in the world have demonstrated their ability to compete successfully.
The plan supports the immediate strengthening of the university system across Africa, including the creation of specialised universities where needed, building on available African teaching staff. The need to enhance the presence of institutes of technology is especially emphasised.
The second significant component of education is the building of primary schools in all villages, and secondary schools in all regions.
Culture is an integral part of development efforts on the continent. Consequently, it is essential to protect and effectively utilise indigenous knowledge that represents a major dimension of the continent’s culture, and to use this knowledge in a shared manner for the benefit of humankind. The African initiative will give special attention to the protection and nurturing of indigenous knowledge, which refers to tradition-based literacy, artistic and scientific works, performances, inventions, scientific discoveries, designs, marks, names and symbols, undisclosed information and all other tradition-based innovations and creations resulting from intellectual activity in the industrial, scientific, literary or artistic fields. The term also includes genetic resources and associated medicinal knowledge.
The African initiative leaders will take urgent steps to ensure that indigenous knowledge in Africa is protected through appropriate legislation. They will also promote its protection at the international level, by working closely with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
The majority of Africa’s people live in rural areas. However, the agrarian systems are generally weak and unproductive. Coupled with external setbacks such as climatic uncertainty, biases in economic policy and changes in world prices, these systems have held back agricultural supply and incomes in the rural areas, leading to poverty.
The urgent need to achieve food security in African countries requires that the inadequate agricultural systems be addressed, so that food production can be increased and nutritional standards raised.
Improvement in agricultural performance is a prerequisite of economic development on the continent. The resulting increase in rural peoples’ purchasing power will also lead to higher effective demand for African industrial goods. The induced dynamics would constitute a significant source of economic growth.
Productivity improvement in agriculture rests on the removal of a number of structural constraints affecting the sector. A key constraint is climatic uncertainty, which raises the risk factor facing intensive agriculture based on the significant inflow of private investment. Consequently, governments must support the provision of irrigation and develop irrigable land when private agents are unwilling to do so. The improvement of other rural infrastructure (roads, rural electrification, etc.) is also essential.
The institutional environment for agriculture also significantly affects the sector’s productivity and supply performance. Institutional support in the form of research centres and institutes, the provision of extension and support services, and agricultural trade fairs will further boost the production of marketable surpluses. The regulatory framework for agriculture must also be taken into account, including the encouragement of local community leadership in rural areas, and the involvement of these communities in policy and the provision of services.
Too little attention has been paid recently by bilateral donors and multilateral institutions to the agriculture sector and rural areas, which contain 70 per cent of the poor people in Africa. For example, in the World Bank portfolio, credits to agriculture amounted to 39 per cent in 1978, but dropped to 12 per cent in 1996 and even further to 7 per cent in 2000. The entire donor community must reverse such negative trends.
53.10 Diversification of Production and Exports
African economies are vulnerable because of their dependence on primary production and resource-based sectors, and their narrow export baskets. There is an urgent need to diversify production and the logical starting point is to harness the existing basis of African production, namely its natural resource base. Value added in agro-processing and mineral beneficiation must be increased and a broader capital goods sector developed, through a strategy of economic diversification based on intersectoral linkages. Private enterprise must be supported, both micro-enterprises in the informal sector and small and medium enterprises in the manufacturing sector, which is a principal engine of growth and employment. Governments should remove constraints to business activity and encourage the creative talents of African entrepreneurs.
53.11 Market access
African leaders believe that improved access to the markets of industrialised countries for products in which Africa is competitive is crucial. Although there have been significant improvements in terms of lowered tariffs in recent years, there remain significant exceptions on tariffs while non-tariff barriers also constitute major barriers. Progress on this issue would greatly enhance economic growth and diversification of African production and exports. Dependence on ODA would decline and infrastructure projects would become more viable as a result of increased economic activity.
C. Mobilising Resources
53.12 Increasing savings
To achieve higher levels of growth and more effective poverty reduction, Africa needs to mobilise additional resources, both domestic and foreign. Domestic resources include national savings by firms and households, which need to be substantially increased. In addition, more effective tax collection is needed to increase public resources, as well as the rationalising of government expenditures. A significant proportion of their domestic savings is lost to African countries as a result of capital flight. This can only be reversed if African economies become attractive locations for residents to hold their wealth. Therefore, there is also an urgent need to create conditions that promote private sector investments by both domestic and foreign investors.
53.13 Increasing capital flows
Equally important, however, especially in the short to medium term, are additional ODA and debt reduction. Additional ODA is required to enable least developed countries to achieve the international development goals, especially in the areas of primary education, health and poverty eradication. Further debt reduction is also crucial. The enhanced Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative still leaves many countries within its scope with very high debt burdens, given the need to direct more resources towards poverty reduction. In addition, there are countries not included in the HIPC that also require debt relief to release resources for poverty reduction.
54. The action plan is presented under eight themes, structured in the same way as the strategy outlined. It covers what needs to be done immediately and what has to be done to initiate medium- and long-term interventions.
(i) Peace and Security Initiative
The Peace and Security Initiative consists of three elements:
(ii) Democracy and Governance Initiative
The purpose of the Democracy and Governance Initiative is to contribute to strengthening the political and administrative framework of participating countries, in line with the principles of democracy, transparency, accountability, integrity, respect for human rights and promotion of the rule of law. It is strengthened by and supports the Economic Governance Initiative, with which it shares key features, and taken together will contribute to harnessing the energies of the continent towards development and poverty eradication.
The Initiative consists of the following elements:
African initiative states will also undertake a series of commitments towards meeting basic standards of good governance and democratic behaviour while, at the same time, giving support to each other. Participating states will be supported in undertaking such desired institutional reforms where required. Within six months of its institutionalisation, the African initiative leadership will identify recommendations on appropriate diagnostic and assessment tools, in support of compliance with the shared goals of good governance, as well as to identify institutional weaknesses and to seek resources and expertise for addressing these weaknesses.
In order to strengthen political governance and build capacity to meet these commitments, the African initiative leadership will undertake a process of targeted capacity-building initiatives. These institutional reforms will focus on:
Countries participating in the initiative will take the lead in supporting and building institutions and initiatives that protect these commitments. They will dedicate their efforts towards creating and strengthening national, regional and continental structures that support good governance.
The African initiative Heads of State Forum will serve as a mechanism through which the African initiative leadership will consider a range of common good governance commitments and goals, including progress in assessing weaknesses in governance and progress in implementing reforms. The Forum will provide a platform for countries to share experiences with a view to fostering good governance and democratic practices.
(i) Poverty Reduction
The Infrastructure Initiative comprises elements that are common to all the infrastructure sectors; it also includes elements that are sector-specific.
(i) All Infrastructure Sectors
(ii) Information and Communications Technology
(v) Water and Sanitation
(vi) Science and Technology Platforms
On the African level:
On the international level:
On the African level:
On the African level:
On the international level:
On the African level:
(v) Promoting the Private Sector
On the African level:
On the international level:
(vi) Diversification of African Exports
On the African level:
On the international level:
To achieve the estimated 7 per cent per annum growth rate needed to meet the IDGs – most importantly, to halve poverty incidence by the year 2015 – Africa needs to fill an annual resource gap of 12 per cent of its GDP, or US $64 billion. This will require increased domestic savings, as well as improvements to the public revenue collection systems. However, the majority of the needed resources will have to be obtained from outside the continent. The African initiative focuses on debt reduction and ODA as complementary external resources required in the short to medium term, and addresses private capital flows as a longer-term concern. A basic principle of the Capital Flows Initiative is that improved governance is a necessary accompaniment to increased capital flows, so that participation in the Economic and Political Governance Initiatives is a prerequisite for participation in the Capital Flows Initiative.
(i) The Debt Initiative
The African initiative seeks to extend debt relief beyond its current levels (based on debt "sustainability"), which still require debt service payments amounting to a significant portion of the resource gap. The African initiative’s long-term objective is to link debt relief with costed poverty reduction outcomes. In the interim, debt service ceilings should be fixed as a proportion of fiscal revenue, with different ceilings for IDA and non-IDA countries. To secure the full commitment of concessional resources – debt relief plus ODA – that Africa requires, the African initiative leadership will negotiate these arrangements with creditor governments. Countries would engage with existing debt relief mechanisms – the HIPC and the Paris Club – before seeking recourse through the African initiative. The Debt Initiative will require agreed poverty reduction strategies, debt strategies and participation in the Economic Governance Initiative to ensure that countries are able to absorb the extra resources. In addition to seeking further debt relief through the interim debt strategy set out above, the African initiative leadership will establish a forum in which African countries will exchange experiences and mobilise for the improvement of debt relief strategies.
(ii) The ODA Reform Initiative
The African initiative seeks increased ODA flows in the medium term, as well as reform of the ODA delivery system, to ensure that flows are more effectively utilised by recipient African countries. The African initiative will establish an ODA forum of African countries so as to develop a common African position on ODA reform, and to engage with the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD and other donors in developing a charter underpinning the development partnership. This charter will identify the Economic Governance Initiative as a prerequisite for enhancing African countries’ capacity to utilise increased ODA flows, and will propose a complementary, independent assessment mechanism for monitoring donor performance. The African initiative will support a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) Learning Group to engage in the PRSP process together with the IMF and the World Bank.
(iii) The Private Capital Flows Initiative
The African initiative seeks to increase private capital inflows from outside Africa, as an essential component of a sustainable long-term approach to filling the resource gap.
The first priority is to address investors’ perception of Africa as a "high risk" continent, especially with regard to insecurity of property rights, regulatory weakness and markets. Several elements of the African initiative will help to lower these risks gradually, and include initiatives relating to peace and security, political and economic governance, infrastructure and poverty reduction. Interim risk mitigation and reduction measures will be put in place, including credit guarantee schemes and the strengthened investment-related regulatory and legislative frameworks. The next priority is the implementation of a PPP capacity-building programme through the African Development Bank and regional development banks, to assist national and subnational governments in structuring and regulating transactions in the provision of infrastructural and social services. The third priority is to promote the deepening of financial markets within countries, as well as cross-border harmonisation and integration, via a Financial Market Integration Task Force. Initially, this will focus on the legislative and regulatory environment for the financial system.
It has been recognised that a healthy and productive environment is a prerequisite for the African initiative. It is further recognised that the range of issues necessary to nurture this environmental base is vast and complex, and that a systematic combination of initiatives is necessary in order to develop a coherent environmental programme. This will necessitate that choices be made, and particular issues be prioritised for initial interventions.
It is also recognised that a core objective of the Environment Initiative must be to combat poverty and contribute to socio-economic development in Africa. It has been shown that many of the steps taken to achieve a healthy environmental base can contribute greatly to employment, empowerment, social cohesion, dignity and the reduction of poverty.
It should be mentioned, too, that Africa is to host the World Summit on Sustainable Development in September 2002. Environmental management forms the basis of the range of issues to be debated at the Summit, and we submit that the event gives particular focus and status to the deliberations on this theme in the African initiative.
The Environment Initiative has targeted eight subthemes for priority interventions:
Combating Desertification. Role model interventions are envisaged to rehabilitate degraded land and to address the factors that led to such degradation. Many of these steps will need to be labour intensive, along the lines of "public works programmes", thereby contributing to the social development needs of the continent.
Wetland Conservation. This involves a rolling out of African role model interventions on wetland conservation, where social and ecological benefits give very good returns on investment.
Invasive Alien Species. Partnerships are also sought to prevent and control invasive alien species. These partnerships are critical for both the integrity of natural systems and economic well-being. Major labour-intensive initiatives are possible.
Coastal Management. In protecting and utilising coastal resources to optimal effect, role models are again suggested from which a broader programme can be introduced.
Global Warming. The initial focus is on monitoring and regulating the impact of climate change. Labour-intensive work is essential and critical to integrated fire management projects.
Transfrontier Conservation Areas. This subtheme seeks to build on the emerging initiatives to seek partnerships across countries that boost conservation and tourism, and therefore create or protect jobs.
Environmental Governance. This relates to the securing of the institutional, legal, planning, training and capacity-building requirements that underpin all of the above.
Financing. A carefully structured and fair system for financing work is needed.
The Environment Initiative has a distinct advantage in that many of the initiatives can start within relatively short time frames, and they also offer exceptional good returns on investment in terms of creating the social and ecological base upon which the African initiative can prosper.
55. Africa recognises the centuries-old historical injustice and the need to correct it. The central injunction of the new partnership is, however, for combined efforts to improve the quality of life of Africa’s people as rapidly as possible. In this, there are shared responsibilities and mutual benefits between Africa and her partners.
56. The global technological revolution needs an expanding base of resources, a widening sphere of markets, new frontiers of scientific endeavour, the collective capacity of human wisdom, and a well-managed ecological system. We are aware that much of Africa’s mineral and other material resources are critical inputs into production processes in developed countries.
57. In addition to its indispensable resource base, Africa offers a vast and growing market for producers across the world. A developing Africa, with increased numbers of employed and skilled workers and a burgeoning middle class, would constitute an expanding market for world manufactured products, intermediate goods and services.
58. At the same time, Africa provides a great opportunity for investment. The African initiative creates opportunities for joint international efforts in the development of infrastructure, especially in ICT and transportation.
59. Africa also provides prospects for creative partnerships between the public and private sectors in beneficiation, agro-industries, tourism, human resource development and in tackling the challenges of urban renewal and rural development.
60. Furthermore, Africa’s biodiversity – including its rich flora and fauna and the rain forests – is an important global resource in combating the environmental degradation posed by the depletion of the ozone layer and climate change, as well as the pollution of air and water by industrial emissions and toxic effluents.
61. The expansion of educational and other opportunities in Africa would enhance the continent’s contribution to world science, technology and culture, to the benefit of all humankind. After all, modern science recognises Africa as the cradle of humanity. Fossils, artefacts, artistic works and the remains of ancient human
settlements are to be found throughout Africa, providing material evidence of the emergence of Homo sapiens and the progression of humanity.
62. As part of the process of the reconstruction of the identity and self-confidence of the peoples of Africa, it is necessary that this be understood and valued by Africans themselves. In the same vein, Africa’s status as the birthplace of humanity should be cherished by the whole world as the origin of all its peoples.
63. Africa’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in its artefacts of the past, its literature, philosophies, art and music. These should serve both as a means of consolidating Africans’ pride in their own humanity and of confirming the common humanity of the peoples of the world.
64. The African initiative has, as one of its foundations, the expansion of democratic frontiers and the deepening of the culture of human rights. A democratic Africa will become one of the pillars of world democracy, human rights and tolerance. The resources of the world currently dedicated to resolving civil and interstate conflict could therefore be freed for more rewarding endeavours.
65. The converse of such an initiative, the collapse of more African states, poses a threat not only to Africans, but also to global peace and security. For industrialised countries, development in Africa will reduce the levels of global social exclusion and mitigate a major potential source of global social instability.
66. Africa is committed to the development and strengthening of South-South partnerships.
Establishing a new relationship with industrialised countries and multilateral organisations
67. A critical dimension of Africans taking responsibility for the continent’s destiny is the need to negotiate a new relationship with the development partners. The manner in which development assistance is delivered in itself creates serious problems for developing countries. The need to negotiate and account separately to donors supporting the same sector or programme is both cumbersome and inefficient. Also, the tying of development assistance generates further inefficiencies. The appeal is for a new relationship that takes the country programmes as a point of departure. The new relationship should set out mutually agreed performance targets and standards for both donor and recipient. There are many cases that clearly show that the failure of projects is not caused only by the poor performance of recipients, but also by bad advice given by donors.
68. The various partnerships between Africa and the industrialised countries on the one hand, and multilateral institutions on the other, will be maintained. The partnerships in question include, among others: the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s; the Africa-Europe Summit’s Cairo Plan of Action; the World Bank-led Strategic Partnership with Africa; the International Monetary Fund-led Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers; the Japan-led Tokyo Agenda for Action; the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act of the United States; and the Economic Commission on Africa-led Global Compact with Africa. The objective will be to rationalise these partnerships and to ensure that real benefits to Africa flow from them.
69. The African leaders envisage the following responsibilities and obligations of the developed countries and multilateral institutions:
70. immediate priorities
Recognising the need to sequence and prioritise, the initiating Presidents propose that the following programmes be fast-tracked, in collaboration with development partners.
(a) Communicable diseases – HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis;
(b) Information and Communications Technology;
(c) Debt reduction;
(d) Market access.
Work has already been done on all these programmes by a variety of international partnerships and institutions; however, Africa’s participation and leadership need to be strengthened for better delivery. We hold that addressing these issues could fast-track the renewal of the continent. (Detailed proposals on each programme are available as annexures.)
Much as the promoters of the African initiative appreciate the dangers of a project approach to development, they are proposing a number of projects that are crucial to an integrated regional development, as conceived by the African initiative. These projects not only strengthen country and regional development programmes, but will also go a long way in kick-starting the regeneration of the continent.
The projects presented below are for illustrative purposes only. A detailed list of projects can be found on the initiative website (http://www.mapstrategy.org/).
The project addresses the maintenance and upgrading of Africa’s fragile agricultural natural resources base. Many African governments are already implementing these initiatives as part of this programme. Partners include the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank, the FAO and other bilateral donor agencies.
The project addresses upgrading of the physical and institutional infrastructure that supports Africa’s agriculture. Technological innovation and technology diffusion hold enormous potential for accelerating agricultural output and productivity, but the continent lacks the research capacity that is necessary for major breakthroughs. Major players include the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the World Bank, the FAO and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
(ii) Promotion of the Private Sector
International experience suggests that one of the best practices in promoting enterprises in highly innovative areas is through the establishment of business incubators. This project will formulate required guidelines and policies for the establishment of such incubators at the national level, drawing on international experience and established best practice, tailored to African needs and conditions.
(iii) Infrastructure and Regional Integration
The African initiative process has identified many energy, transport, telecommunications and water projects that are crucial to Africa’s integrated development. The projects are at various stages of development and require funding.
The next step is to accelerate their further development in collaboration with the African Development Bank, the World Bank and other multilateral institutions.
The view of the initiating Presidents is that, unless infrastructure is addressed on a planned basis – that is, linked to regional integrated development – the renewal process of the continent will not take off. Therefore, the international community is urged to partner Africa in accelerating the provision of infrastructure. Detailed infrastructure projects can be found on the initiative website (http://www.mapstrategy.org/).
70.3 Needs Assessment
As part of assessing the required action in the priority sectors, a needs assessment will be undertaken, progressing from the national level, to the subregional level, to the continental level. The point is to assess the needs in the five priority sectors in terms of structures and staff.
The assessment of subregional sectoral needs will start from the national needs assessment. The proposal is that the experts and ministers in each subsector meet in one of the subregional capitals. For each sector, national data will have been aggregated and used to elaborate on a subregional sectoral plan. Once subregional sectoral needs are assessed in the five sectors, they can be aggregated to formulate subregional global needs.
It should be stressed that subregional sectoral needs are not to be simply added up – the starting point is a subregional perspective leading to at least two new elements:
Finally, the continent’s needs will be assessed in the five sectors considered as priority sectors in the light of the global subregional plans. The details can be found on the initiative website (http://www.mapstrategy.com/).
71. Directing Mechanism of the African Initiative
The initiating heads of state will advise the OAU on an appropriate mechanism for the implementation of the African initiative.
There will be a need for core technical support for the implementing mechanism in the areas of research and policy formulation.
72. The functions of the Heads of State Implementation Committee will be:
73. The African initiative’s objective is to consolidate democracy and sound economic management on the continent. Through the programme, African leaders are making a commitment to the African people and the world to work together in rebuilding the continent. It is a pledge to promote peace and stability, democracy, sound economic management and people-centred development and to hold each other accountable in terms of the agreements outlined in the programme.
In proposing the partnership, Africa recognises that it holds the key to its own development. We affirm that the African initiative offers an historical opportunity for the developed countries of the world to enter into a genuine partnership with Africa, based on mutual interest, shared commitments and binding agreements.
The adoption of a development strategy as set out in the broad approach outlined above, together with a detailed programme of action, will mark the beginning of a new phase in the partnership and cooperation between Africa and the developed world.
In fulfilling its promise, this agenda must give hope to the emaciated African child that the 21st century is indeed the century of Africa’s renewal.
Engagements with the world community: