This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
to freedom despite many years of isolation, economic sanctions and cold shoulders from world communities. INTRODUCTION: South African leaders and foreign policy makers have like an egg waiting to be hatched been strategising their skills on how to deal with international issues even while most of them were still on exile during apartheid era. The 1994 democratic election ushered in the African National Congress (ANC) leadership and the questions is; are the leaders equal to the task? This easy will look into reasons why President Thabo Mbeki advances an African Renaissance vision in his foreign policy and vigorously support and promote NEPAD globally. In order to do this, it is good to access the importance of African renaissance being championed by President Mbeki of South Africa and also look into reasons why the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) should be embraced by African countries by making use of different pieces of articles by different authors. The keyword in South African foreign policy is “Walk on two legs” which is focused on realising a broad vision where South Africa shall strive for peace, stability, democracy and development in an African continent which is nonsexist, prosperous and united towards a world that is just and equitable.1 AFRICAN RENAISSANCE: The above elements are captured within the holistic vision of an African Renaissance bringing in its wake peace, prosperity, democracy, sustainable development, progressive leadership and good governance.2 This view was supported by the then Foreign Affairs Minister Alfred Nzo (now late).
South Africa accepts three fundamental post-cold war realities; Firstly, the apparently untouchable direction of the twin process of globalisation and liberation; the dominance of the market and concomitant decrease in the sovereignty in sovereignty of states. Second, the apparent inability or unwillingness of some leaders to act to bring an end to political oppression, human right abuses, conflicts within and among states and corruption in all its facets. Third, the institutions of global governance, central to the achievements of our aims must be restructured and refocused as a matter of priority.3
Mills, G. “Prisoner of Paradigm? Understanding SA’s Foreign Policy” in South African Yearbook of International Affairs 2002/03, Vol. 7 Johannesburg P. 2 2 Ibid. P. 2 & Pityana, S. M. “Strategic Plan 2002-2005”, http://www.dfa.gov.za/department/straplan.htm , 16 July 2001, P. 2 3 Stremlau, J. “African Renaissance and International Relations” in Makgobe, M. W. (ed) African Renaissance: The New Struggle, Mafube, Tafelberg, Cape Town, 1999, P. 102
IMPORTANCE OF AFRICAN RENAISSANCE TO SOUTH AFRICA. Before Nzo’s comment, former President Nelson Mandela first spoke of it in June 1994. He suggested that instead of repeating that the continent is poor and unstable, “we must say that there is no obstacle big enough to stop us from bringing an African Renaissance.” Yet, while Mandela initiated the idea, it was Mbeki who developed it as a rallying cry for the benighted continent.4 The two leaders foresaw the importance of this concept. A country’s foreign policy is a true reflection or mirror of her domestic policies. A better life for all in South Africa is being pursued to be a better life for all in Africa. Thus, the importance of African Renaissance to South Africa include; firstly, economic recovery of Africa as a result of stable democracy and sound economic policies. Secondly, the establishment of political democracy throughout Africa means tensions and conflicts are eased within African continent. This creates chances for regional cooperation in economic development. Third, the mobilisation of the people of Africa to take their destiny into their own hands, thus preventing the continent from being a place for the attainments of geopolitical and strategic interests of the world’s most powerful countries. Lastly, the fast development of people-driven and people-centred economic growth and development aimed at meeting basic needs is another importance of African Renaissance.5 These points will make more meaning in the next subheading. Critically, it was difficult to believe that a country with rich history of apartheid, racism and white supremacy (economically) will spearhead a Renaissance in the rest of Africa. However, recent events to be discussed later proved this assertion wrong. NEPAD Just like the African Renaissance, which became possible because Africans have entered into a new partnership with the rest of the world on the basis of what Africa has determined is correct route to its own development.
Barber, J.: Mandela’s World: The International Dimension of South Africa’s Political Revolution 199099, David Phillip, Cape Town, 2004, P. 124 5 Ibid. P.102
Thus, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is an instrument to advance people-centred development in Africa, based on democratic value and principles. It is the focal point and overall strategic framework for the engagement of development initiatives and programmes in Africa. Before the formation of NEPAD, several efforts have been made to put Africa in limelight. Subsequently, African leaders have agreed on the need for an African Peer Review Mechanism to ensure that together we are able to reflect on the manner in which one of us works, in accordance with the agreements that are important for development in our countries. For the first time in the history of Organisation African Unity (OAU) the OAU 25th Summit in Algeria in July 1999 voted for democracy, a resolution was passed that will isolate any government that comes into power by force of arms. This was an affirmative of 1991 Harare Commonwealth Declaration against undemocratic government. It was also a parting gift for former South African President Nelson Mandela who had canvassed the idea at the Organisation’s Summit in Burkina Faso in 1998.6 The immediate apprehension of NEPAD is that it is a merger of Millennium African Recovery Plan (MAP) proposed by President Mbeki (South Africa), Obasanjo (Nigeria) and Bouteflika (Algeria) and the OMEGA Plan proposed by President Wade of Senegal. At the OAU Summit held in Lusaka in July 2001,the merged programme was approved as the new African Initiative (NAI) and endorsed in the same month in Genoa by the leaders of G-8. Its policy framework was agreed by the Heads of State Implementation Committee at Abuja in October 2001. The name NEPAD was adopted at the meeting.7 It is important to note that President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and the other four Presidents mentioned earlier are the members of the implementation committee, being headed by Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria. ELEMENTS OF NEPAD. Essentially, NEPAD’s strategic framework consists of five main elements. The insistence on African Ownership, responsibility, and leadership and the building of capacity to play this role. Africa has woken from its slumber and realise that she has to put her house in order on its own before crying for help.
Akpata-Ohohe, B. “Actions … Louder Than Words” in Africa Today, Vol. 5, No. 8, August 1999, P. 37 Ohiorheman, J. “NEPAD and …Underdevelopment” in New Agenda, 3 rd Quarter, 2002, P. 9
This is only way it cannot be deduced to “Western Puppet”.8 Second is the focus on developing a new partnership with the industrialised countries and multi-lateral organisations on the basis of mutual commitments and obligations. With detailed programme of action and projects linked to specific time frames for implementation and funding which is agreed upon, NEPAD hopes to maintain the myriad of existing Africa-oriented international initiatives such as Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSP) and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. It expects, however, to rationalise these to ensure that real benefits to Africa flow from there.9 The commitment to an enabling economic environment by ensuring macroeconomic stability and maintaining transparency and accountability in institutional support mechanisms for the market is the third element. The economic environment for business to be done on a clean slate without bribes and hanky-panky is very encouraging. This includes copyright laws or intellectual property laws.10
Fourthly, the commitment to nurturing an enabling socio-political environment by minimising conflict and promoting democracy and human rights is another element.11 Some of the realities on NEPAD’s initiative are evident in “Liberian solution” which is an indication that Africans are now resolved to take charge as their own policeman. Thus, Charles Taylor (the former President) was forced to step down from power and go to exile in Nigeria. This move was initiated by the leaders of West African States and gained momentum in the African union (AU) via Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.12 Finally, sub-regional and continental economic integration is being promoted. It is not the first development plan for Africa, however, is new in the same that for the first time, African leaders have taken initiative and have themselves conceptualised the programme for the reconstructions of the continent.13
Ibid. P. 9 IOC. Cit and Ohiorheman, J. , Op. Cit. P. 3 10-11 Ibid. P. 9 12 Karioki, J. “Liberia reveals Africa’s New Resolve” in Sunday Times, Johannesburg 17 Aug. 2003, P.17 13 Ibid. P. 9
WILL NEPAD SURVIVE? A tough negotiation over NEPAD, which promises democracy and good governance in return for billions of dollars in Western investments, aid and debt relief, making it brutally clear that unless the continent’s leaders do more to halt corruption, respect human rights and act against dictators in their midst, instead of pretending too concerned with members’ sovereignty, they cannot expect any aid, investment or political partnership with the rich developed world of the G-8. In view of the above realities, African leaders whose countries are members of NEPAD have declared the following below to ensure that it does not become an unrealistic dream. Strengthening mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution. Conflict resolution in Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and other South African Development Community (SADC) has ensured there is no spill over effects of refugee problems and social problems.14 Promoting and protecting democracy and human rights, as well as restoring and maintaining macro-economic stability are some of the goodies from NEPAD if the policies will be well implemented. Also, the reduction and elimination of unstable debt for the mobilisation of domestic capital to increase the levels investments. This will further increase the intra-Africa trade and improve African asses to modern technologies of various kinds15 Others are; instituting transparent legal and regulating framework for financial markets; revitalising and extending education, technical training and health services, with high priority to HIV/AIDS, malaria and other communicable diseases. Also, building the capacity of African states to set and enforce legal framework and maintain law and order; and promoting the development of infrastructures and its diversification into agro-industries and manufacturing.16 Increasingly, South Africa is both seen and is behaving as an integral part of the African continent, particularly the SADC region and NEPAD communities in general.
Ohiorheman, J., Op. Cit. P. 12 Ibid. P. 12 16 IOC. Cit
Far from being marketed as little Europe, the country is treating Africa’s problem as its own through its preventive diplomacy, peace enforcement, peace making, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace building measures. Preventive diplomacy refers to action undertaken in order to “prevent disputes from arising between parties to prevent existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of the latter when they occur”. Examples of “action” would include confidence-building measures, fact-finding and early warning. According to Gareth Evans, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait would be an example of failure to use preventive diplomacy, whilst the canning of North Korea’s nuclear activities in 1998 would be an example of early and successful preventive diplomacy. AMBIGUITY IN NEPAD Before looking at some of the ambiguity in NEPAD, there is nothing to loose in sharing some pessimisms that NEPAD may well prove to be pie on the sky as most members of the G-8 are likely to concentrate on talks of reviving the wobbly international economy, war against terrorism rebuilding Iraq and how to contend nuclear threats from two remaining “axis of evil” countries (Iran and North Korea).17 Others like President Muammar Al-Qaddafi of Libya believe that NEPAD is another form of “Western neo-imperialism” or neo-colonialist venture.18 Ironically, President Mbeki of South Africa is championing NEPAD and its programme but back home thousands of people are dying daily from the scourge of HIV/AIDS. Until recently, he failed to come up with a comprehensive plan to combat the pandemic but rather accused the CIA and Western pharmaceutical companies of spreading the disease in order to hold Africa in permanent bondage.19 How then does this go in line with NEPAD’s rhetoric? Having seen some of these pessimisms, it now gives a clear picture of some of the complexities of NEPAD.
Whiteman, K. “Drowning in the Watyers of Evian in Africa Today, Vol. 9, No. 7, July 2003, P. 13 Herbert, R. “The African Union and NEPAD in 2002: A Pivotal Year” in South African Yearbook of International Affairs 2002/03, Vo. 7, Johannesburg, P. 247 19 Owen, K. “Death of a Civil Servant” in Africa Today, Vol. 6, No. 12, Dec. 2000, P. 25
Africa has poor record of leadership and governance. With Qaddafi rejecting the NEPAD’s initiatives, AU leaders sought to appease him by expanding the NEPAD implementation committee to include Libya whose policies defers from NEPAD ideals. This shows inconsistency and sort of bending the rules to co-opt a challenge instead of sticking to their guns.20 The AU members have accepted the idea that the Organisation should take a more active interventionist posture than the old OAU. However, the modalities for such intervention as suggested by NEPAD’S leaders still remain unclear. This is because of the adoption of Peace and Security Council (PSC) protocol, which allows only nations that have the financial and military ability to contribute to peacekeeping operations. The criteria for the PSC membership are vague as there is no clear mechanism to justify who is qualified or not.21 The roadmap does not deal, however, with how specific responsibilities are assigned; how the multitude of agents will be coordinated; who the approving agents is/are, and indeed with what specific authority NEPAD activities are being undertaken. The question of authority is, perhaps, the fundamental challenge of NEPAD. NEPAD emerged as a proposal of a few African Heads of State as buttressed earlier in this essay. While it was approved by the OAU, its status is still not clear. It has subsiding relationship to the AU or coequal relationship to be fair. With such ambiguity of institutional form, NEPAD can hardly become the “veritable mechanism for the reconstruction of Africa” that its champions want it to be.22 The ambiguity is further reflected in the fact that NEPAD is projected simultaneously as a club (membership of which must be earned) as is on inclusive association (membership of which derives essentially from the AU). This means certain criteria must be met which must be determined by the Peer Review Mechanism which does not seem to have specific criteria to Peer Review intending members.23 A more subtle but no less worrying ambiguity lies in the fact that the organisational structure assigns leadership of task teams to independent, unrelated agencies and of subcommittee to countries. Some rationalisation is clearly called for.24
Herbert, R.., Op. Cit. P. 248 Herbert, R. ; Op. Cit. P. 249 22 Ohiorheman, J., Op. Cit, P. 15 23 IOC. Cit 24 Ibid. P. 15
CONCLUSION: Policies backed up with actions always see the light of the day, be it African Renaissance or NEPAD initiatives. While the distractions of terrorism, confusion in Iraq and US Presidential elections have diverted the attention of the world away from Africa and NEPAD, 2004 promises to be more difficult. NEPAD should make communication its top priority; if it is the answer to Africa’s problem. NEPAD needs to be explained in terms of tangible benefits that are achievable. This suggests that what Africa needs is more coordination, which is not exactly the making of an invigorating political movement. In other words, if its architects want the African public to embrace it and take the crucial step of demanding that their leaders enact it, NEPAD must move beyond the theoretical level of discourse that has dominated it so far, and initiate practical programmes.25 It would be fundamentally wrong and a radically regressive act for NEPAD to see to undermine the obligatory nature of the provisions of the AU concerning political governance. To subject political governance to PRM would make compliance with the prescriptions about democracy and human rights contained, for instance; in the Constitutive Act, open to “horse trading” among the member states that would have acceded to PRM.26 NEPAD’s origins lie in the welcome undertaking that Africa was ready to confront endemic conflict and instability and to engage the world as an equal part according to John F. E. Ohiorheman. He continues;
…it is unnecessary complex substantive and institutional form could turn out to be a fundamental constraint. Moreover, the extra-vetted nature of its campaign age may undermine the topic of African ownership, which is NEPAD’s responsibilities. Unless African leaders search for partnership is grounded in the aspirations and support of their people, NEPAD will fall far short of its possibilities.27
On governance and human right abuses related issues, Zimbabwe is a glaring example. The manner with which the crisis in that country is resolved will mar or make the credibility of NEPAD’s leadership. Africa must stop living in a dream but dream to live.
Herbert, R., Op. Cit. P. 255 Mbeki, T. “Critics Ill-informed about Nepad Peer Review” in ANC Today, Vol. 2, No. 45, 8 Nov. 2002 27 Ohiorheman, J.; Op. Cit. P. 17