Acta Universitatis Danubius. Communicatio, Vol 10, No 2 (2016)

Africa and The Philosophy of the New Partnership For Africa’s Development (NEPAD)

Shittu Raji1

Abstract: This work examined the task of developing Africa within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) with a view to evaluating the philosophical implications of the Programme for sustainable development in the continent. Findings from the research through exploratory technique showed that the NEPAD philosophy is primarily anchored on the African ownership and management of its development process owing to the continent’s conviction that no development paradigm can succeed optimally unless it is built on what its people genuinely require, understand and overwhelmingly control. The paper therefore concluded that there is no country that can escape from the process because the contemporary global imperative to development is premised on sufficient funding, adequate knowledge of scientific and technological know-how, all of which are the drivers and hallmark of neo-liberalism and globalization process. Africa thus needs to align its development philosophy with the global best practices in order to achieve the best for its citizens. There is also the need for the continent to re-negotiate the neo-liberal contents in the NEPAD document to make the programme more relevant and more responsive to the development aspirations of Africans.

Keywords: New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD); Africa

1. Introduction

Over the past five decades, the desire for the sustainable development of Africa has been the key issue confronting African countries. The development aspirations of Africans, right from the early days of independence, basically revolved around the improvement of the quality of their lives and meeting their needs, which include adequate food intake, water, shelter, security, functional health facilities, amongst others (Adedeji, 1990). Africans further hoped for a life of reasonable accomplishment, opportunities and dignity that make life more purposeful and fulfilling. Africans’ aspiration for dignified existence was further reinforced by the promises of many African nationalists in the years of the anti-colonial struggle and the campaign promises of many African leaders shortly after independence to better the lot of Africans.

In spite of the efforts of African leaders, the challenge of sustainable development in Africa has persisted for close to half a century. As noted by Obasanjo (2003), what is noticeable after almost half a century of independence in African countries is that the continent still remains the world’s enduring development challenge, world’s most highly indebted region, where poverty is endemic, pervasive and deep, where conflicts and socio-political crises still remain a recurring feature. Africa is also a region being ravaged by AIDS and tropical diseases. To buttress the above observation, available statistics shows that Africa has a debt burden of about $376 billion as of 2012 (Umeh, 2012). AIDS infected about 28 million Africans between 1986 and 2011; more than six million of this number has died (Umeh, 2012). Only 58 percent of the African population, which is estimated at more than 640 million people, has access to safe water (Joshua, 2013). About half of the African population lives on less than $1 per day while life expectancy at birth in Africa is only 54 years (Madu, 2011).

In spite of its socio-political and economic burdens, many African leaders have remained consistent in the task of developing the continent. Some of the previous development strategies designed to bail Africa out of its development problems include the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations Programme of Action for Africa’s Recovery and Development (UNPAERD of 1986). Most of these efforts only achieved limited success. For instance, the oppressive and draconian policy of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) which borders on privatization and commercialization of public enterprises, withdrawal of product subsidy, job cut and devaluation of local currency, amongst others, worsens the material condition of many Africans.

Unable to achieve much from the North-South platform, African countries diversified their development effort by adopting what they believe to be “home grown” development strategies which place more emphasis on regional and sub-regional integration for socio-economic development of Africa. The continent was particularly encouraged by the “home grown” success of the South-East Asian nations which not only shared similar colonial experiences with the African continent, but has managed to chart a vigorously articulated path to development. The first major concerted effort towards the success of this development model was expressed in the OAU’s Lagos Plan of Action (LPA) of 1980 (Venter, 1994). The main thrust of this Plan borders on the removal of Africa’s dependence on the developed economies and its replacement with a self-reliant development strategy. This concept revolved around the application of Africa’s huge human and raw material resources for meeting the development needs of the continent. Also established by the OAU was the African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and Transformation (ACPPD) in February 1990 in Arusha, Tanzania (Venter, 1994, p. 14). ACPPD was established for the development of Africa in realization that development crises in the continent was more political in nature but with serious economic and social consequences. Therefore, the enthronement of democracy in Africa was the main focus of ACPPD.

To support the effect of this Charter was the Kampala document emanating from the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation in Africa (CSSDCA), held in Kampala (Uganda) in 1991 (Diop, 1997, p. 84). The CSSDCA was envisaged as a development process, which includes cooperative effort on security, stability, and cooperation to promote socio-economic development in Africa. The first element (security) borders on the promotion of peace and strategic defense of Africa which included the promotion of Africa’s capacity for conflict prevention, management and resolution.

The second element (stability), borders on the promotion of robust economic policies and sufficient implementation in Africa for people’s need to be met. The third element of CSSDCA (development) borders on the adoption of stronger political action, concrete policy measures and fiscal discipline by African leaders to give effect to the two elements earlier mentioned, to improve development process in Africa. The fourth element (cooperation) endorsed permanent conflict management institutional structures and a permanent secretariat to manage conflict in Africa. Despite the OAU’s development efforts, through the LPA, ACPPD, CSSDCA and other platforms, the defunct Organization was not able to achieve much.

According to Adetula (1996), the LPA achieved limited success partly due to the non-dismantling of the oppressive and exploitative international structures within African states. Two of these structures include the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s unfavorable liberalization policy of opening up the weak economies of African countries to compete with the highly subsidized products from the developed world. Another emerging problem facing Africa from the regional effort borders on the observation that all the African sub-regional groupings have different origins, different geographical configuration, different needs and aspirations (in spite of the same objective of developing Africa). Each is therefore stressing their peculiar sub-regional development needs to the negligence of other sub-regions. Thus much effort has been concentrated on sub-regional leaning so much that this has almost left the African “project” in a vacuum. In order to address these shortcomings and in realization of her precarious position in a globalizing and new world order, coupled with mounting debt and aid fatigue from the previous development efforts, African leaders chose to diversify their development diplomacy through integration, hence the creation of the African Union(AU).

The OAU was formally transformed to AU on July 26th 2001 (Maya, 2001). The transition came through the Constituent Act of the AU which was signed at the final OAU meeting in Lusaka (Zambia) in July 2001. Unlike the OAU, the AU was conceived as an integrative effort to deal with the new global reality of interdependence of nations. Essentially, the AU was loosely fashioned along the lines of the European Union (EU) to tackle the political and economic problems of Africa (Maya, 2001). Its development plans consists of the joint central Bank, a central parliament and a centralized judicial system. Other designed important features of the AU include the crystallization of regional and continental trade and easier movement of Africans from one AU nation to another (AU, 2002). These features are expected to elevate Africans to a higher pedestal of political, economic and cultural progress. However, the most important AU policy initiative and framework to put Africa firmly on the path of socio-economic recovery and sustainable development is the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).The primary responsibility of NEPAD is to plan and coordinate development programmes in Africa while the implementation of such programmes are mainly carried out by the national governments in collaboration with private sectors and sub-regional institutions (NEPAD, 2001). NEPAD programme is being implemented at the country level through the introduction of macro-economic reforms, controlled budget deficits and inflationary trends, improved infrastructural facilities and human capital development, all aimed at promoting good governance. At the regional level, the programme focuses on maximum and functional cooperation and integration in Africa and through credible and mutually rewarding partnership with the international community at the global level (NEPAD, 2002).

Understanding how NEPAD came about as a philosophical response to Africa’s development challenges and the continent’s response to the new world order requires a brief historical interpretation of the new world order itself in terms of its nature and character and the forces responsible for NEPAD’s emergence in the first instance (Okpeh, 2005). The new world order is associated with the historical demise of the Soviet Union in 1991. The exit of the Soviet Union from providing leadership to a socialist sub-system and the subsequent weakness of socialist regimes globally have brought about the emergence of an ideologically unipolar world order; the important dimension of this process being the emergence of the United State of America (USA) as the strongest nation on earth. The USA is the only country with military, diplomatic, political and economic assets to be a decisive player in any issue it chooses to involve itself (Okpeh, 2005, p. 6).Another characteristic of the new world order that is important to the emergence of NEPAD is the consequence of globalization on the international political economy which increasingly integrates the world economy and promotes tremendous cross-border economic activities and remarkable expansion of human activities in the spheres of transport and communication, finance and exchange. The globalization process is thus characterized by sustained increase in the ratio of international trade, the rapid expansion of the financial market and the boom in the direct investment abroad. These attributes of globalization have brought tremendous opportunity and financial lifeline to those countries and continents that have the capability to be a major player in the globalization process.

The emergence of NEPAD, its assumptions, expectations and prospects can mainly be anchored on the global picture painted in the preceding paragraph. NEPAD came about first as Africa’s response to the new world order; “a sort of compass for engaging and navigating the challenges” posted by the process of globalization (Okpeh, 2005, p. 10).The philosophy of NEPAD revolves around African ownership and control of its development programme, which is logical and compelling to a reasonable extent. It has been established from previous studies (Frank, 1971; Amin, 1979) that no development paradigm can succeed adequately in any society unless such paradigm is built on what its people genuinely require, know, understand and overwhelmingly control. However, NEPAD’s philosophical adoption of a neo-liberal development framework, underlying an open economic regime that involves trade liberalization, removal of products subsidy, privatization and commercialization of public enterprise, deregulation et cetera, is quite worrisome and requires further examination and analysis.

More worrisome is the likely effect the Programme’s adoption of open market economies (that is mainly characterized by structural adjustment policies) would have on the development efforts to eradicate absolute poverty and bring about sustainable development in Africa. For instance, NEPAD’s adoption of neo-liberalism as a central development philosophy is an extension of the existing pattern of dependant relationship of Africa on the Western nations, which has a track record of marginalizing Africa and impoverishing vast majority of Africans. There is therefore the need for this research to study further, whether the NEPAD’s integration of Africa into an asymmetric global system which is dominated by a few Western countries, can really be a genuine philosophical basis for Africa’s development.

2 Review of Literature

Since the inception of NEPAD in 2001, the process of socio-economic and political transformation of Africa through the programme has become the subject of debate amongst the African leaders and development experts. As noted by Okpeh (2005) the constellation of debate over the relevance of the NEPAD programme to the development of Africa could be collapsed into two conflicting perspectives for a systematic review. These two development schools of thought are the Afro-optimists and the Afro-pessimists. The Afro-optimists consist of mainly the African leaders who believed that sustainable development in Africa is better achieved through the NEPAD instrument only if Africa’s development philosophy relies on socio-economic and political reforms (NEPAD, 2001). As posited by the African leaders, it is through these reforms that Africa can redeemably insert itself in the current neo-liberal driven global agenda of the unipolar world order.

African leaders also believed that Africa development problems arise primarily because the continently has remained largely isolated from the benefit of the contemporary globalized economy. Africa’s eluded benefits include the technological revolution and the tremendous financial resources inherent in the globalization process. The best way to address Africa’s marginalization in the globalization process is the main-streaming of the continent into the globalization process through socio-economic reforms as demanded by global trade organizations and global financial development agencies. Based on this Afro-optimists position, many African nations have committed themselves to the International Monetary Funds (IMF) and the World Bank (WB) prescribed economic liberalization and reform programmes (Okpe, 2005).

The Afro-pessimists who are mainly the critics of integrating Africa into the globalization process through the NEPAD posited that the material conditions of Africans would be worse-off under the NEPAD programme except the programme divorce itself from its neo-liberal content and “de-link” Africa from the global capitalist system. This system was believed to have for centuries structuralized and perpetuated the peripheral and marginal status of the African continent. To the critics of the NEPAD, the programme’s adoption of globalization as its primary philosophy ofsustainable development is a clear integration of Africa to the octopus of the new world order which is primarily characterized by global imperialism of the West (Opeh, 2005).

Ariole (2004) opined that although the goals of NEPAD at eradicating poverty in Africa is a noble one and much of the analyses of the causes of Africa’s problems as enunciated by the document are correct, the programme philosophy and its programme of action to tackle these problems contradicts NEPAD’s goals and strategies of combating poverty in Africa. For instance, even though one of the long term objectives of NEPAD is to ameliorate the suffering of women, the most glaring evidence of gender blindness of NEPAD is the fact that it ignores the devastating impact of the Structural Adjustment Policy (that is being promoted by the NEPAD) on women, as a major contributor to the impoverishment of African women.

Obada and Wandera (2003) opined that NEPAD is very insensitive to the environmental problem in Africa in the sense that, nonetheless the programme seeks to increase foreign investment in the continent in such priority sectors as energy, agriculture and communication, there is no reference in the NEPAD Document for effective codes of conduct to curtail environmental degradation in Africa and job security for Africans. On NEPAD’s trade policies, which is largely based on market liberalization (NEPAD, 2002), the African Programme on Development (APD) posited that NEPAD is being used by the promoters of a new “Development Round” of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to serve as an implicit endorsement of the organization’s wider agenda to promote further plundering of African resources by the developed countries through liberalized trade and foreign investment.

To the APD, such move would plunder Africa’s labour force cheaply, while the Multi-national Corporations are mainly interested in unmitigated repatriation of African resources back to the developed countries rather than using such resources generated in Africa to develop the continent.

As argued by Ukpong (2003), privatization and liberalization as demanded by IMF and World Bank and as adopted by NEPAD has led to the total looting of people’s resources, as it has opened up Africa’s weak economy to the hegemony of the developed world. This negative development trend has bred poverty and underdevelopment in Africa. The key initiators of NEPAD are also being criticized for not adopting a bottom-up approach before the adoption of the programme by first propagating and popularizing the idea in their respective countries before its adoption in Lusaka in 2001 (Izeze, 2003). As a result of poor programme sensitization, NEPAD as a framework for the political and socio-economic development of Africa remains vague and least understood by many Africans including the elites and the academics since the concept entered the public domain in 2001.

3. Africa and the Philosophy of NEPAD

The philosophy of NEPAD to bring about sustainable development in Africa rests on four major pillars (NEPAD, 2001). These include a focus on African ownership and management of its development programmes based on the principle of self – reliance. African leaders are convinced that the continent possesses enough resources: capital, technology and human skills to end the scourge of underdevelopment that afflicts Africa (NEPAD, 2001). Some of these indispensable African resources that could be used for the development of Africa as noted by Ajakaiye (2003, p. 84) are about 10.5 Billion metric tones of crude oil reserves and more than 10.2 Trillion cubic meters of national gas reserve which represent about 7.2 percent of world reserve. Other reserved development resources of Africa includes about 432,000 metric tones of uranium deposit which represent about 6 percent of world reserves. This vital security raw materials are use in defense industry. Africa is also blessed with about 1,600 meters watts of exploitable hydrogen resources, which are about 33 percent of world hydro resources for power generation and a large deposit of renewable energy reserve from bio-energy and solar energy resources. The continent is also blessed with Over 60 shared international water basins for domestic, industrial and agricultural purposes.

The population of Africa is another vital human resource asset to the continent. This population figure which is estimated at 640 million people (Madu, 2010) has the capacity to create good markets for goods produce in Africa and thus help the continent in its market integration efforts. With the above highlighted resources base of Africa, amongst others, NEPAD argued that the continent has what it takes to launch a war on poverty in Africa (NEPAD, 2001). What is required to mobilize these resources for proper utilization is a bold and imaginative leadership that is genuinely committed to a sustained human development and poverty reduction in Africa while the need to cooperate and negotiate a new relationship with Africa’s development partners based on the principle of equal opportunities and mutual benefits is another development focus of NEPAD.

Evaluating the previous foreign input into the development process in Africa, such as the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), NEPAD observed that these development paradigms only provided partial solution to Africa’s development problems. This is because most of the international financial agencies mainly promoted reforms that tended to remove serious price distortions but discouraged the provision of social services for the people at affordable prices (NEPAD, 2002). The previous accession to the financial institutions of international community has brought about aid binomial, which underlines the logic of African development. For example, previous loans granted have led to debt deadlock, compounded interest rate and hindrance to development process as much of the development funds are spent on loan repayment. According to the NEPAD (2001), the limit of this option (loan) to the African development process has been reached as it underlines the logic of African development. Africa is to enter into a new term of relationship with the developed world that will benefit both parties (NEPAD, 2002). The specific areas of concern to Africa in its relationship with the developed world are the issues of Africa’s debt crisis and the path to debt relief, the need to enhance more international trade opportunities for the continent and the need to attract foreign direct investment into Africa (NEPAD, 2002, p. 7).

The NEPAD equally recognize the need to integrate African countries adequately into the global political economy because of the inherent benefits that awaits the continent from the process (NEPAD Document, paragraph 8).As noted in the above paragraph, even though globalization has created opportunities for lifting millions of people out of poverty, Africa is not in the best position to compete effectively in the globalization markets. One of the factors that militate against Africa in its effort to benefit maximally from the globalization process, noted the NEPAD, is the “absence of fair and just global rules”. Thus globalization has increased the ability of the strong (developed world) to advance their interest to the detriment of the weak (Africa and other developing nations) especially in the areas of trade, finance and technology. These shortcomings have limited the opportunities for developing countries (including Africa) to control their own development programme, as globalization has no provision for compensating the weak (NEPAD Document Paragraph 33). Furthermore, Africa is unable to take advantage of globalization because of structural impediment (policy mismatches), resources out flows and unfavourable terms of trade (NEPAD, 2003). The Programme believed that it is within the capacity of the International community to create a fair and just condition to address unfair trade practices that have prevented Africa from competing effectively in the globalization process.

The programme equally placed more emphasis on what Africa need to do to improve its competitiveness in the global market since it cannot disengage from the globalization process. This primarily involves embracing greater liberalization (NEPAD, 2003). In order for the African continent not to miss out in the new millennium economic revolution, NEPAD believes globalization is a necessity for Africa to “slice up the value chain” (open up her development opportunities) to bring about massive investment in Africa. More so, since all borrowers must compete for fund at the global market (rather than at the national level), development in Africa can only be achieved through the philosophy of functional integration of Africa into the globalization process by addressing the investor’s perception of Africa as a “high risk” continent, through the repairs of basic infrastructures and provision of a peaceful atmosphere for foreign investment to thrive in Africa.

A closer examination of the philosophy of NEPAD from the position of the African leaders as enunciated above shows that the programme basically rests on four fundamental pillars. They are:

  1. African ownership and management of the NEPAD development process primarily by Africans because the leadership believed this is possible with bold and imaginative leadership in Africa;

ii. Re-negotiation of a new form of development strategy with the African development partners (especially the G8 and multilateral financial development agencies) based on the principle of equal partnership and mutual benefits;

iii. The decision of the African leaders to participate actively in the globalization process through the adoption of an “open market economy” because no nation could escape from the process;

iv. Africa’s recognition of its own ability to use the continent’s huge human and material resources to develop the continent.

However, a closer evaluation of the above fundamental philosophical foci of NEPAD indicates that although the fundamental philosophy of the programme centres on African ownership and management of its development process without external control, two major factors which borders on financial constraints and technical capacity inadequacy have seriously undermined Africa’s overwhelming ownership and control of the NEPAD programme. For example, the bulk of filling annual resources gap of about $64 billion rests primarily not with Africa (because such huge amount cannot be generated internally) but with the continent’s development partners, out of which only a grant of $11 billion Dollars has been released as of 2011 (NEPAD, 2012).

This was achieved under unfavourable “conditionality”, such as the removal of product subsidy, retrenchment and reduction in public spending. In the area of technical capacity inadequacy, NEPAD is being confronted by lack of adequate indigenous experts to effectively manage and prosecute its projects, especially in the information, marine and petroleum engineering sectors.

As a result of shortage of the much needed indigenous human resource to execute the NEPAD flagship projects, much of its programmes are being prosecuted mainly by foreign experts and foreign companies while the bulk of resources for these projects are being provided by foreign investors and donor agencies. The primary motive of the investors is profit making while their production standard fall short of environmental safety. These two constraints (technicalcapacity inadequacy and financial problem) have curtailed the ability of African leaders to adequately manage and control the direction and the process of NEPAD implementation. Eze (2004) has raised three critical questions that are relevant to NEPAD’s philosophy of self reliance and capacity to succeed:

(i) Can Africa own, control and lead what it does not substantially fund? (ii) Can self-reliance be achieved if the project funding is mainly derived from foreign sources? (iii) With the NEPAD’s philosophy fundamentally relying on the application of the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules, which summarily open up the weak economy of Africa to the hegemony of free trade, can Africa be said to be self-reliant and in control of its development process under such hegemonic arrangement?

Since Africa is not in control of the foreign component of NEPAD programme, which is a critical foundation upon which the successful implementation of NEPAD programme is premised, and since Africa does not substantially fund the programme, the continent cannot be said to be in full control and management of the NEPAD project. Though the NEPAD philosophy centres around self-reliance, structurally, it operates essentially within the global dominant development framework of the World Bank, World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. These institutions are seen by many critics as instruments of global dominance by the West. What this clearly shows is that the NEPAD philosophy tends to incorporate and further entrench African economies into the hegemony of the capitalist developed economies. Since the Western dominant forces are still in control of Africa’s development paradigm with the same neo-liberal approach to development, many Africans, especially those living below the poverty line, are still worse- off under the NEPAD programme than they were before because NEPAD meant more structural adjustment policies, virtual removal of subsidy, more reduction in public spending, more job cuts et cetera.

Another philosophy of NEPAD centres on the need to re-negotiate a new form of favourable relationship with the African development partners especially the G8 and Multi-lateral financial development agencies, based on the principle of equal partnership and mutual benefits. This position is an indication that the previous development arrangement between Africa and its development partners has benefited the continent marginally. There is therefore the need to refocus Africa’s relationship with its development partners in a more favourable manner. As noted by Bukarambe (2004), Africa’s Partnership with some of its traditional development partners under the NEPAD simply translates more to seeking development fund from their erstwhile colonial powers to promote Africa’s development transformation.

Africa has not and could not have derived maximum benefit from this partnership arrangement because the background upon which genuine equality and understanding could be based between the two parties is not neutral but tilted in favour of the former imperial masters. For instance, the ex-colonial masters, who are the core focus of the NEPAD partnership, have not shifted their positions over the preservation of an international economic order that is characterized by monopoly, multinational exploitation, highly technical advanced technology and enormous resources, and an institutional order that is predominantly neo-liberal in approach (in spite of its attendant hardship on vast majority of Africans). Secondly, African states, otherwise, have contended with the development limitations imposed by weak national infrastructure, weak governmental institutions (to implement policy properly) and weak industrial capacity among others.

These negative factors have given an involuntary hierarchical character to the partnership in which Africa only plays a peripheral role (of supplying the primary raw materials needs of the developed world) in a partnership it supposedly has overwhelming control. This arrangement has only bred a senior-junior or master-servant relationship and not equal partners as envisaged in the NEPAD Document. Although the demise of colonization, crumbling of former empires and proliferation of independence sovereign states in Africa has created an allure of the demise of old imperial order and enthroned supposed equal partnership between Africa and its development partners, the fact still remains that the old colonial order has only undergone a slight, inconsequential modification (Eze, 2004, p. 141).

The essential dynamics of the imperial order remain even more active in Africa, in form of neo-colonialism, unfavourable terms of trade, draconian “conditionalities” to secure funding for development projects from development agencies. These unfavorable terms of partnership led to the conclusion that an erstwhile imperial power still continues to set the scene and the pace of action in Africa’s development paradigm contrary to NEPAD’s claim of Africa’s overwhelming control of the development process in the continent.

As noted by Eze (2004, p. 140), even though NEPAD is conceived within a partnership arrangement in which Africans are to take up their own destiny through internally inspired development paradigms, it is indeed lamentable that its development partners, especially the G8 do not perceive NEPAD in this light as they insist upon the dominance of market forces that are externally inspired as the central element of Africa’s development process. The summary of this line of argument as suggested by Agwu (2004, p. 17) is that contrary to its assertion, NEPAD is not principally a “home grown” concept, but a G8 inspired and dominated concept and a reflection of the old “neo-liberal” economic thinking that has not and could not have developed Africa as previous neo-liberal approaches have failed the continent.

On the globalization process which Africa has adopted to participate in through “open market” economy (NEPAD Document, Paragraph 50), the African proponents of globalization support it because of its tendency to bring about open trade policies that encourage export of African goods elsewhere, tremendous financial flows and operational efficiency to Africa. But NEPAD has equally noticed the negative impact of globalization on Africa as it confirmed the absence of fair and just global rules under the globalization process, which has increased the ability of the strong and developed world to advance their development interest to the detriment of weaker nations in the area of trade, finance and technology (NEPAD Document, Paragraph 33).

In spite of the preparedness of Africa to participate in the globalization process, the continent has no immediate response to the unfair nature of the globalization process as it merely advised that it is within the capacity of the international community to create fair and just conditions to address issues that have prevented Africa from effective participation in the globalization process (NEPAD Document, Paragraph 33).The import of NEPAD’s assertion is that It is a matter of political will (as it is not legally binding) on the developed world to respect the partnership between it and Africa on fair trade practices under the globalization process. It is in doubt if the developed world will respect Africa’s advice that globalization should create fair and just conditions for international trade and investment, as they have not demonstrated that they would give the desired assistance to Africa to their own detriment. Giving Africa the lead to the source of the technological success of the advanced countries, which is one of the fair trade practices Africa is demanding, could promote cut-throat competition between Africa and the West.

The West is not ready for such “economic suicide”. The Western caution is clearly demonstrated by their current economic relationship with Africa. For example, while the major industrial nations are very supportive of the NEPAD at least in principle, they have not shifted their prevailing unfavorable position on trade, aid, investment and subsidies. The United States of America, for instance still subsidizes its 25,000 cottons farmers with$3 billion annually than it does on its entire aid budget to Africa which stood at about $77 million in 2010 (Osagie, 2011, p. 14). In 2010 alone, Africa’s cotton exporters lost US$ 301 billion as a direct consequence of the G8 subsidies of its cotton farmers (Osagie, 2011).

Okpeh (2005, p. 17) identified three flaws among others, inherent in NEPAD’s philosophy of integrating Africa into the globalization process. The first flaw borders on the programme’s misconception that the root cause of Africa’s development crisis is the region’s exclusion from the core international capitalist trading system and the exclusion of Africa from the benefits globalization bestows. This phenomenon noted NEPAD (Paragraph 4-9) has continued to impoverish the African continent and her people. Our finding rather reveals that Africa crisis is indeed the crisis of development resulting from centuries of exploitation and dependency perpetuated by the Western capitalist world who are now the promoters of globalization. The Corollary to the above assumption of the NEPAD is the programme’s perception of the new world order and the globalization process as a voluntary phenomenon consistent with the logic of the new world order, to which all the countries of the world that are desirous of meaningful development must subscribe because of its inherent benefits and because, no nation has control over globalization. Within this context, the African continent has the option of engaging in the globalization process or risk being-de-linked from the dividends of global development process. Our study posits that the integration of the world into the globalization process is not some natural and voluntarily convergence process pursued and promoted by all countries, but the integration of countries arises from the dynamics within the most highly developed economics and powerful countries.

Globalization as confirmed by this study is thus a further imposition of the economic and broader strategic interest of the most highly industrialized economies using their financial, economic, political or military power to promote the internal and outward expansion of their transnational corporations throughout the world. Africa’s economy rather than being gainfully integrated into the global system has rather been opened up further to the business operations of expansionary global corporations with marginal benefits to the region (Okpeh, 2005).

Globalization was equally presented in the NEPAD Document (2002) as a new development process. Our study captured the fact that globalization is neither new nor does it represent the victory of capitalism over socialism. It is rather the consolidation of the relations of exploitation, and marginalization existing between the developed and the underdeveloped world (including Africa) since the fifteenth century (Okpeh, 2005, p. 16). The consolidation of the existing exploitative relationship between Africa and the developed countries, explains why Akinterinwa (2004, p. 68) contended that in practical term, the relationship between globalization and the NEPAD could be linked to that between an oppressor and a resister, in which globalization and NEPAD (though contained in the same NEPAD document as a positive development partners) “are at the extreme ends of a continuum struggles”. In this respect, globalization is increasingly becoming more synonymous with re-colonization through the use of global financial agencies and World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Conversely, NEPAD is a programme of action designed to resist any form of re-colonization of the above mentioned institutions through the concept of self-reliant and African renaissance, which borders on African ownership and control of its development process. Therefore, globalization and NEPAD are “strange bed fellows” (largely incompatible) in the NEPAD process. Akinterinwa (2004, p. 13) submits that the conception and design of NEPAD is quite good, but its adoption of globalization wholesale does not suggest any intention to change the international status quo, which centers on an economic system of inequality, and injustice. What the globalization process has produced in Africa includes plundering the resources of Africa by the developed world through trade liberalization, since the African economy is not competitive enough to play an active role in the globalization process. On Africa’s ability to use the continent’s huge human and raw material resources to develop the continent as envisaged in the NEPAD Document (Paragraph 52), it is pertinent to note that, though Africa is truly endowed with primary material resources, a negative feature of these resources is that they are unevenly distributed. The resources are also betrayed by lack of sufficient and highly qualified human resource, advanced technology and financial resources to harness them maximally for the benefit of Africans. The actual ability of Africans to use these resources to their advantage is therefore seriously curtailed due to the above-mentioned factors. Another dimension of Africa’s resource base is its large population of about 640 million people (Sen, 2010) that could create a good market for the African products and help in the continent’s integration efforts.

Africa’s labour force is also derivable from its population base. However a closer evaluation of the African population shows that such a population is more of a liability than an asset to the internal development process. In fact, majority of Africa’s population could best be described as a vulnerable one easily penetrated by hunger, disease, conflict, abject poverty, illiteracy and unsustainable growth. Such population status has not constituted an effective productive force and a market source for African products because Africans’ disposable income and productive capability are low.

4. Conclusion

Having examined the task of developing Africa within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) with a view to evaluating the philosophical implications of the programme on sustainable development in the continent, findings from the research reveals that the NEPAD philosophy is primarily anchored on the African ownership and management of its development process owing to the continent’s conviction that no development paradigm can succeed optimally unless it is built on what its people genuinely requires, knows, understands and overwhelmingly controls. However, two major factors; financial constraints and indigenous technical capacity inadequacy have seriously undermined Africa’s ownership and control of the NEPAD programme. The programme’s adoption of a neo-liberal philosophical development framework and its main reliance on external funding have also imposed overwhelming hardship on vast majority of Africans owing to the draconian conditionality for the release of such fund by many development partners. Although the shortcomings of a neo-liberal development framework is well noted, further findings shows that there is no country that can escape from the process because the contemporary imperative to development is premised on sufficient funding, adequate knowledge of scientific and technological know-how all of which are the hallmark of neo-liberalism. Africa thus needs to align its development philosophy with the global best practices in order to achieve the best for its citizens. There is also the need for Africa to re-negotiate the neo-liberal contents in the NEPAD to make the programme more relevant and more responsive to the development aspirations of Africans.

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1 PhD, Centre for Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ilorin, Nigeria, Address: 1515, University of Ilorin, Ilorin 240003, Nigeria, Corresponding author:

AUDC, Vol. 10, no 2/2016, pp. 118-135


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