The phrase “Nigeria as the giant of Africa” has been known by many nations because of the leading roles she plays in policy-makings and their implementations. Also, these leading roles are prevalent in her military prowess, landscape, natural and human resources and natural endowment. The larger world as well as other African nations has in contemporary time looked up to Nigeria as the “Savior” of African race given the enormity of the resources that mother nature had endowed her with in comparison to other African states.1 Sequel to the above, Nigeria has also played leading and significant roles towards the establishment of various agencies such as Organization of Africa Unity (OAU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and African Union (AU) among others. This same philosophy informed her strategic roles aimed at establishing and realizing the objectives of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD). 2 To this end, the thrust of this research revolves around the enormous issues, challenges and prospects of this African project called NEPAD.
The phrase “Nigeria, the Giant of Africa” has been so used by Nigerians especially our leaders that people of critical mind sometimes wonder what has been the basis for this judgment. In other words, analysts and scholars from time to time have attempted to look at Nigeria’s claim to leadership in Africa from various perspectives. The most popular and noticeable reasons always for these include Nigeria’s population, military strength, land mass, natural and mineral resources, etc. 3
In addition, the larger World has in contemporary time looked up to Nigeria to play a leading role in African Affairs, given the enormity of the resources that nature has endowed on her as compared to other African states. Whether Nigeria has been able to justify this confidence is yet another thing
What this research seeks to do essentially therefore is an appraisal of what contributions Nigeria has made in realizing the aims and objectives articulated in the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).
1.2 AIMS AND OBJECTIVE
As is traditional with programmes of this nature, statements articulating aims and objectives, both long-term and short are always in abundant supply. Whether these aims and objectives are later realized however depends on availability of resources and the kind of determination of the promoters of such programmes.
The aims and objectives drawn up by African leaders who are the main promoters of the programmes are all embracing, covering almost all areas of problems, needs and general aspirations of the African continent.
However, the long term objective of NEPAD as contained in public enlightenment series published by the Justice Development and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu Ode are:-
to eradicate poverty in Africa and to place African countries both individually and collectively on a path of sustainable growth and development, and thus halt the marginalization of Africa in the globalization process and
to promote the role of women in all activities.
Specific goals of the programme, which are many, include the followings:
to achieve and sustain an average percent (7%) per annum for the next 15 years.
to ensure that the continent achieves the agreed International Development Goals (I.D.G) as thus:-
Reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.
Enrolment of all children of school age in primary school by 2015.
Making progress towards gender equality and empowerment of women.
Reducing infant mortality ratio by two third (2/3) by 2015.
Reducing maternal mortality ratio by two third (2/3) in 2015.
Providing access for all who need reproductive health services by 2015.
To implement national strategies for sustainable development by 2015 so as to reverse the loss of environmental degradation 1 pollution. 4
1.3 Significance of the Study
This work is very significant because it sought to throw light essentially on an African problem that has been begging for an African solution because charity they say must begin at home. If Africa must achieve development then laudable goals and objectives the likes of NEPAD must be pursued and articulated by none other than Africans themselves. The idea therefore conceived by the founders of NEPAD becomes very essential if Africa is to move forward so all efforts at actualizing this is very significant in like manner whatever findings from this research may help in its own contribution towards achieving this development.
1.4 Scope of the Study
The scope of the research shall cover the period when Nigeria and other African leaders like South African Thabo Mbeki, Nigeria’s Obasanjo Bouteflika of Algeria met to formulate what then was known as The Millennium African Plan (MAP) in 2000. The birth of NEPAD was 23rd October, 2001 in Nigeria capital city of Abuja. The scope therefore shall be between the years 2001-2010 5
1.5 Research Methodology
Firstly, historical – critical method will be employed to the study that is, investigating the events, developments and experiences of the past, both in Nigeria and Africa’s Economic Development. This method is handy because it will provide data for background information and contextualization. Data will be obtained from primary and secondary sources. From the primary sources, this research will use aggregate data, official documents, texts, journals, bulletins, magazines, and other periodicals. The internet and other broadcast media will also be utilized. From the secondary source, personal interviews will be conducted
1.6 Literature Review
This not the first time African leaders have come together to fashion out plans for the development of the continent and all this have been done under the auspices of various names and programmes which scholars like Eyinla 6 have opined that there is a need to avoid duplication, this was what saw the birth of NEPAD on the 23rd October 2001. In his view the harmonized versions of the likes of the Millennium African Plan and New African Initiatives (NAI) was what eventually brought about the NEPAD. Akinsanya 7 on his part had this to say “perhaps, it may not be out of place to remind ourselves that other development initiatives both at the national and continental level such as Nigeria’s vision 2010 and Africa’s Lagos Plan of Action (LPA) have existed as preludes to our current plan (NEPAD).”
One of the distinguishing features of NEPAD however is the emphasis on African ownership, integrated development and partnership with developed countries in the South. NEPAD is basically on African led strategy for sustainable development and poverty reduction in Africa. It recognizes Africa’s responsibility to create conditions for development by ending conflict, improving economic and political governance and strengthening regional integration. Olaniyan 8
Understandably, most institutions like the IMF, World Bank, European Union to mention a few have placed a lot of emphasis on good governance, financial discipline, respect for human rights and provision for conducive atmosphere for living and learning, NEPAD basically is also based on this line of reasoning.
Olaniyan 9 as a matter of fact went further to opine that NEPAD is premised on the principles of good governance as a basic requirement for peace, security and sustainable political and socio economic development. The underlying truth here is that there can never be any kind of meaningful development in the absence of peace or in the midst of anarchy and war.
This situation is best understood in Eyinla 10 when he cited the Economist more than anything; African people need to regain their self confidence. Only then can Africa engage as an equal with the rest of the world devising its own economic programmes and development policies. Its people also need the confidence to trust each other. Only then can they make deals to end wars and build political institutions that they actually believe in.
One fundamental flaw in African development has been that of leadership. This part of the NEPAD agenda believes that:
The resources including capital, technology and human skills that are required to launch a global war on poverty and underdevelopment exist in abundance are within our grasp. What is required to mobile these resources is and to use them properly is bold, and imaginative leadership.11
The cheering news or silver lining for African continent is the view of the European Union when the NAI/NEPAD was presented to her was that it was a welcomed and long overdue initiative based purely on the objective of democracy, transform good governance and human rights.
Every cloud has a silver lining and therefore to the pessimistic of NEPAD it is another play in beggar/donor relations. Eyinla aptly captured it thus when he asserted that it appears NEPAD is attempting to make Africa’s begging bowl more attractive by adopting various fashionably and political correct spin to a fatigued donor community.12
Although Africa leaders themselves seem to think otherwise because they believe that: In this regard, we are not asking for favors, but for fairness and justice, a better life for Africans and secure future for humanity. This programme is premised on African ownership, African control of the projects and programmes, with African leaders accepting openly and unequivocally that they will play their part in ending poverty and bringing about sustainable development (Africa Forum 2003).13
The contribution of Olokun, an economist cannot be overlooked although the work focused in the quest of the Journey so far of the Organization of African Unity to African Union, his contribution through a material.”The role of Nigeria in the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) the material gives us an opportunity for this research because he carefully x-rayed some of the core aims and objectives of the NEPAD agenda thus;
(1)Revisit AU/NEPAD perspective for effective knowledge.
(2)Take another look at the status of the integration in Africa in terms of progress so far.
(3)Present some key challenges faced and explore possible solutions.
(4) Impact of relationship between the Europe and Africa Regional Organization on rural livelihood on the continent.
(5) A call to Europe to write towards effective partnership with African especially its regional bodies.14
Another review to be considered here is the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in its two reports on assessing Regional Integration in Africa (ARIA 1&2) issued in 2004 and 2006 15 respectively, provide a deep analysis as well as a detailed picture of what constitutes the current situation of regional integration in Africa.
Kusa is a political scientist who, in her book “Nigeria and the Challenges of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism(APRM) 16also talks about the importance of (NEPAD) in the growing of the African Union(AU) and the mechanism for review which provide the means of monitoring progress toward good economic, cooperate and political government in Africa including challenges.
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