Africa's integration into the global world economy was challenged as new regional economic and trade groupings began to form and older grouping were strengthened, as well as by the conclusions from the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations and the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). One crucial question had to be posed: how could Africa participate and influence multilateral trade negotiations and agreements while not being marginalised in this new era of globalisation? Africa had to lay down its recovery plan.
It is against this background that Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria developed the Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery Programme (MAP). MAP was "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 to participate actively in the world economy and body politic. MAP was anchored on the determination of Africans to extricate themselves and the continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion in a globalising world". In parallel, President Abdoulaye Wade from Senegal elaborated the OMEGA Plan for Africa; its objective was also to tackle the economic and social marginalisation of the African continent over past decades.
In July 2001 at the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) summit in Lusaka, Zambia, the MAP and OMEGA Plans were merged. The new document adopted was referred to as the New African Initiative (NAI), which became the basis of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) in 2001 and subsequently a Programme of the African Union to foster development and offer a new impetus to Africa.
Building on the strengths and weaknesses of MAP and OMEGA, the newly adopted programme of the African Union (AU) was meant, and still is, to address challenges faced by Africa. The main objectives include: poverty eradication; promotion of sustainable growth and development; and the empowerment of women through building genuine partnerships at country, regional and global levels. NEPAD is a blueprint for Africa's development in the 21st century and provides unique opportunities for Africa to address the critical challenges facing the continent, including the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other continental and international agreed upon goals.
Drawing on the principles of good governance, partnership, African ownership, leadership, and regional integration, NEPAD is built on three strategies: establishing the conditions for sustainable development; the implementation of sectoral priorities and the mobilisation of resources.
In 2003 at the Maputo AU Summit. Heads of State decided to "formalise the working relations between the AU Commission and the NEPAD Secretariat, especially for programme co-ordination and harmonization, to align and harmonise the conditions of service, rules of recruitment and accountability with those of the AU Commission and to develop a sustainable funding mechanism for NEPAD after its complete integration into the AU structures and processes".
More impetus was given to the integration of NEPAD into AU structures and processes with the completion of a study on the modalities of the process. It was during the 14th AU Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the Heads of State decided to establish the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) as a technical body of the au in replacement of the NEPAD Secretariat. …