n African Human Rights Law Journal - Bumps on the road : a critique of how Africa got to NEPAD

Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



This paper explores the notion of 'political independence without economic independence' in the context of the ground-breaking decision made by African states to embrace the neo-liberal economic path to development. This market-based economic agenda is expressed in the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The paper analyses, in a rights-based context, the ideological battle that has been waged between Western powers and African states (through the now defunct Organization of African Unity, and the United Nations) in terms of defining and controlling the agenda for the economic development of Africa. Among others, the work examines the economic policies developed by African and other developing states, such as the New International Economic Order (NIEO); the Right to Development; the Revised Framework for NIEO; the Lagos Plan of Action; the Structural Adjustment Programme; Africa's Programme for Economic Recovery 1986-1990 (APPER, later converted into the United Nations Programme of Action for Africa's Economic Recovery and Development (UN-PAAERD)); the African Charter for Popular Participation and finally, NEPAD. It concludes, among others, that the decision by African leaders to design and adopt NEPAD as its framework for economic development is a further confirmation of the entrenched economic dependence of African states and reveals the extent to which Western states continue to dictate, control and overrule attempts by African states to set their own economic agenda. Also, the implementation of NEPAD in its present shape and form will not necessarily foster a climate of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

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