The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Abuja, Nigeria, October 2001 (Excerpts)


This New Partnership for Africa's Development 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.

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.

Historically 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 below the target set in the 1970s.

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.

The New Partnership for Africa 's Development 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.

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 reach. What is required to mobilise these resources and to use them properly, is bold and imaginative leadership that is genuinely committed to a sustained human development effort and poverty eradication, as well as a new global partnership based on shared responsibility and mutual interest.

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.

The New Partnership for Africa 's Development 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.


The New Partnership for Africa 's Development 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.

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.

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.

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 gains of the economic turnaround and to reinforce the advantages of mutual interdependence.

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 translate these commitments into reality.

The New Partnership for Africa 's Development 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 participatory processes involving the people. We believe that while African leaders derive their mandates from their people , it is their role to articulate these plans as well as lead the processes of implementation on behalf of their 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:

  • Promoting and protecting democracy and human rights in their respective countries and regions, by developing clear standards of accountability, transparency and participatory governance at the national and sub-national levels;



The Peace, Security, Democracy, and Political Governance Initiative

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, sub-regions and the continent.

(i) Peace and Security Initiative

The Peace and Security Initiative consists of three elements as follows:

  • Promoting long-term conditions for development and security;
  • Building the capacity of African institutions for early warning, as well as enhancing African institutions' capacity to prevent, manag e and resolve conflicts;
  • Institutionalising commitment to the core values of the New Partnership for Africa 's Development through the leadership.

Long-term conditions for ensuring peace and security in Africa require policy measures to address the political and social vulnerabilities on which conflict is premised. These are dealt with by the Political and Economic Governance Initiatives, the Capital Flows and Market Access Initiatives and the Human Development Initiative.

Efforts to build Africa's capacity to manage all aspects of conflict must focus on the means necessary to strengthen existing regional and sub-regional institutions, especially in four key areas:

  • Prevention, management and resolution of conflict;
  • Peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace enforcement;
  • Post-conflict reconciliation, rehabilitation and reconstruction;
  • Combating the illicit proliferation of small arms, light weapons and landmines.

The leadership of the New Partnership for Africa 's Development will consider, within six months of its establishment, setting out detailed and costed measures required in each of the four areas above. The exercise will also include actions required of partners, and the nature and sources of financing such activities.

The envisaged Heads of State Forum will serve as a platform for the New Partnership for Africa 's Development leadership to seek to enhance the capacity of African institutions to promote peace and security on the continent, to share experience and to mobilise collective action. The Forum will ensure that the principles and commitments implicit in the initiative are fulfilled.

Aware of that requirement, Africans must make all efforts to find a lasting solution to existing conflicts ; strengthen their internal security and promote peace among the countries.

At the Lusaka Summit, the African Union decided to take drastic measures in reviving the organs responsible for conflict prevention and resolution.

(ii) Democracy and Political Governance Initiative

It is now generally acknowledged that development is impossible in the absence of true democracy, respect for human rights, peace and good governance. With the New Partnership for Africa's Development, Africa undertakes to respect the global standards of democracy, which core components include political pluralism, allowing for the existence of several political parties and workers' unions, fair, open, free and democratic elections periodically organised to enable the populace choose their leaders freely.

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:

  • A series of commitments by participating countries to create or consolidate basic governance processes and practices;
  • An undertaking by participating countries to take the lead in supporting initiatives that foster good governance;
  • The institutionalisation of commitments through the New Partnership for Africa 's Development leadership to ensure that the core values of the initiative are abided by.

The New Partnership for Africa 's Development 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 New Partnership for Africa's Development 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 New Partnership for Africa 's Development leadership will undertake a process of targeted capacity-building initiatives. These institutional reforms will focus on:

  • Administrative and civil services;
  • Strengthening parliamentary oversight;
  • Promoting participatory decision-making;
  • Adopting effective measures to combat corruption and embezzlement;
  • Undertaking judicial reforms.

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, sub-regional and continental structures that support good governance.

The Heads of State Forum on the New Partnership for Africa 's Development will serve as a mechanism through which the leadership of the New Partnership for Africa 's Development will periodically monitor and assess the progress made by African countries in meeting their commitment towards achieving good governance and social reforms. The Forum will also provide a platform for countries to share experiences with a view to fostering good governance and democratic practices.