Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Leading Pan-Africanism and Development: Nigeria’s Role in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)

Academic journal article IUP Journal of International Relations

Leading Pan-Africanism and Development: Nigeria’s Role in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)

Article excerpt


The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) has been called by various names: a program, an initiative, a policy framework, an agenda, a concept, an idea, an integrated strategic policy and so on. No doubt, the NEPAD is all these and much more. The continental initiative was established with the formal adoption of the NEPAD Strategic Framework at the 37th Summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in July 2001. Following the transformation of the OAU to the African Union (AU) in 2002, NEPAD was carried forward and integrated as the development blueprint for the continent. The NEPAD is a product of concerted efforts and relentless search by generations of African leaders to create a Pan-African development vision and framework that can lead to meaningful social, economic and political transformation of the continent within a rapidly globalizing world.

Among other sources of instigation, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), adopted in 2000, had aroused African leaders to the need for an African-owned, African-driven and African-centered development framework. Both the MDGs adopted in 2000 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in 2015 reflect the moral principles that no country should be left behind in terms of development and that all countries should have a common responsibility for delivering the global vision. This need was reflected in the objectives of NEPAD, which included the desire by African countries, individually and collectively, to achieve the MDGs and to transform the social, economic and political fortune of the continent. While the ultimate focus of NEPAD is Africa, there is a strong linkage and alignment with the MDGs because the pursuit of Africa's development should necessarily be in harmony with the global development direction. Furthermore, a deeper and more enduring impetus for the formation and implementation of NEPAD was the spirit and ideals of Pan-Africanism; a fundamental vision of a socio-politically integrated and economically developed Africa which has persistently pushed generations of African leaders to evolve visions and institutions that can help propel the continent to social and economic transformation at different times.

Thus, responding to Africa's deep-rooted desire for development and the imperatives of ongoing global developments, Nigeria and four other countries (South Africa, Algeria, Egypt and Senegal) spearheaded the process of the establishment of the NEPAD. The mandate of this small group of African leaders was to develop an integrated social, political and economic development framework for Africa. And to that end, Nigeria provided the necessary human and material resources as well as the leadership necessary to rally other African countries around this important continental blueprint.1,2 The country also championed and facilitated the collaboration and engagement with the larger international community to partner with Africa in the implementation of NEPAD. With regard to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), specifically, Nigeria has also played a pivotal role in the conceptualization and adoption of this important governance mechanism. The APRM operates based on voluntary accession by African governments to be peer reviewed in line with set principles and rules. Since Nigeria acceded to the APRM in March 2003, the country has demonstrated her commitment to the NEPAD/APRM initiative by taking concrete policy actions and measures towards the implementation of the peer review mechanism, including completing the review process in 2008. In examining and appraising Nigeria's leadership role and contributions to NEPAD, this paper reviews the background and institutional structures of the initiative as well as the policy, institutional and sectoral measures and programs that have been initiated and implemented by Nigeria as contributions or support for NEPAD.

Historical Background of the NEPAD

The NEPAD document aptly describes the initiative as a pledge by a new crop of African leaders with deep sense of history and the vision to eradicate poverty and place the continent on the path of sustainable growth and development. …

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