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NEPAD Must be  "Sent Back Home" According to African Experts and NGOs Gathering in Montreal this weekend

News Release

Embargo: Wednesday May 1, 2002

NEPAD Must be  "Sent Back Home" According to Arican Experts and NGOs Gathering in Montreal this weekend

As African experts and Canadian NGOs gather in Montreal for a CIDA hosted conference "Canada and Africa: A New Partnership" there are questions being raised about the legitimacy of this "partnership" and the soundness of the plan.

The conference is being billed as an opportunity for Canadians and Africans to discuss "The New Partnership for Africa’s Development" (NEPAD), a major continent-wide development plan for Africa that has the full support of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and will be one of the main topics of discussion when the G8 heads of government meet this June in Kananaskis. Although NEPAD is being promoted as an African initiative addressing African needs with African solutions, until recently few Africans knew about this document. "Many of the Africans gathering in Montreal will be asking for NEPAD to be sent back home," says Tetteh Hormeku of Third World Network – Africa.

NEPAD has not been extensively debated or endorsed in African countries. "If a real partnership is to exist, not just one between the leaders of Africa and the G8, but also one including African citizens, then Africans must be consulted on issues central to their lives," says Gerry Barr, President/CEO of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation.

As NEPAD becomes better known, many Africans are uncomfortable with the plan. This intitiative, according to Hormeku, "repackages old and unsuccessful strategies that have been tried in Africa before." Structural Adjustment Programs, promoted by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, have weakened and enfeebled many of Africa’s national economies and governments and private sector foreign direct investment, NEPAD’s central pillar, does not necessarily lead to reduced poverty.

A truly "new partnership" to eradicate poverty and redress injustice requires as much change in policies and practice in the developed economies of the North as it does in Africa. Yet according to Barr, "There is no commitment to genuinely listen to alternatives proposed by Africans and there is no evidence that international institutions such as the WTO or World Bank are prepared to make the changes necessary to promote real development in Africa."

Both Gerry Barr and Tetteh Hormeku will be at the Montreal meeting and are available for comments.

For more information contact:

Katia Gianneschi
Canadian Council for International Co-operation
Tel.: (613) 241-7007 ext. 311
katiag@ccic.ca

 

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