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 Le NEPAD, «qu'ossa donne de neuf»? 2

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Nombre de messages : 654
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 14/06/2005

MessageLe NEPAD, «qu'ossa donne de neuf»? 2

By Heather Scoffield
Globe and Mail, Toronto
Thursday, May 30, 2002 ­ Print Edition, Page A14

OTTAWA -- Africa should not expect buckets of aid money to land in its lap as a result of the Group of Eight summit next month in Alberta, one of Canada's top diplomats in Africa is warning.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wants the summit in Kananaskis to focus on a new development partnership between rich countries and Africa, which has raised widespread hope among development organizations and African countries that higher levels of financial aid would be forthcoming.

But Lucie Edwards, Canada's high commissioner to South Africa, is telling regional audiences that the G8 will concentrate on opening up the world's richest markets to African exports, and on increasing private-sector investment in the continent.

Some new money will be given, although much of it has already been announced, Ms. Edwards said yesterday in a telephone interview.

"This is a long-term initiative," she said from Pretoria. "What we're saying is, aid isn't the solution. There are a whole series of things that need to be done, including mobilizing resources that exist within Africa, using our aid more efficiently, looking at foreign direct investment, and the associated environment that you need to make that work."

Ottawa has already earmarked $500-million of new aid money for Africa, and promised to increase Canada's aid budget by 8 per cent a year.

The United States and the European Union have also promised to increase their aid budgets by billions of dollars over the next few years, although it is unclear how much of that will go to Africa, or when.

Initially, the Canadian government had hoped the summit at Kananaskis, southwest of Calgary, would produce a multibillion-dollar aid package for Africa, based on a new pact from African countries to open their economies, protect foreign investment and improve democracy. But that hope vanished months ago, and now diplomats are dampening expectations.

Efforts in Canada are now focused on a market-access package that would eliminate trade barriers faced by African countries exporting goods to Canada.

The federal cabinet is set to decide by next week whether the new initiative should remove trade barriers for all poor countries, or just African countries. The cabinet is under pressure from the domestic textile and apparel industry to limit any concessions given to overseas competitors.

The Canadian apparel industry says the proposed initiative will do very little to help the world's poorest countries, while threatening jobs in Canada. The industry wants Ottawa to limit its initiative to Africa only, and at the same time eliminate tariffs on imported fabrics so that Canadian apparel manufacturers have access to the same cheap cloth as other countries.

A research paper to be released today by the C. D. Howe Institute, however, contends that the market-access initiative will help poorer countries.

Meanwhile, a growing network of activists wants the Canadian government to concentrate more on pressing African leaders to take action in Zimbabwe, where the questionable re-election of President Robert Mugabe has led to continued unrest and reports of widespread human-rights abuses.

Ms. Edwards has been at the centre of a controversy in South Africa over remarks she made at a conference this month. She was quoted in a South African newspaper as saying that the situation in Zimbabwe had been sufficiently dealt with when African leaders decided to suspend the country's membership in the Commonwealth for a year.

Ms. Edwards said yesterday that she had been misquoted, and in fact Canada was very concerned about human-rights violations in Zimbabwe.

She said African leaders had shown that they were willing to move in the right direction by suspending Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.


Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

April 19, 2002

[This is an abridged version of a keynote A Clare Short at Gallagher Estate on April 4.]

Can Africa halve its poverty by 2015? This is the challenge for NEPAD, says Clare Short.

In the year 2000, to mark the new millennium, the United Nations called a special assembly - which was attended by more heads of state than have ever previously attended any UN meeting.

At that meeting the leaders of the world committed themselves to work together and to mobilise the energy and capacity of the international community to meet a series of millennium development goals. The overarching goal was the halving of the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. Among other goals necessary for the achievement of this aim were that all children should be in primary education, that infant and child mortality be cut by two thirds and that maternal mortality be cut by three quarters - all by 2015.

The paradox of our times is this: more people have lifted themselves out of poverty in the past 50 years than in the previous 500 years; but because the world population has grown so significantly, there are more poor people than ever before. There are now 1,2-billion people living in abject poverty out of the six billion who share our planet.

This is the challenge facing NEPAD - the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development - to which the government of South Africa and the government of the United Kingdom are so strongly committed. Africa is the poorest continent. Two-thirds of the poor of the world live in Asia, and one-third in Africa. But poverty is deeper and more entrenched in Africa. Half the population of sub-Saharan Africa is dollar-a-day poor in purchasing parity terms. This means that what they have to survive on is the equivalent of what a dollar would buy them in the United States - very little indeed.

During the 1990s population growth outstripped economic growth and, therefore, if this trend continues the continent is set to become steadily poorer. The challenge of NEPAD is to change this trend. I believe that this is possible, but it will require a very strong commitment to reform from Africa's leadership - and a real partnership from the industrialised countries to support that effort. There is no doubt that history has been cruel to the people of Africa. Slavery and colonialism degraded and exploited the continent and left a bitter legacy. Apartheid and the Cold War continued the destruction. But if we are to learn from history we must also face the fact that part of the explanation of the present situation in Africa lies in the policies that have been pursued by many African governments in recent decades.

Africa's per capita income is lower now than it was 30 years ago, in the heyday of the independence movement. Added to this, we now face the tragic and brutal reality of more than 25-million African people living with HIV/Aids. On present trends none of the millennium development goals will be met and Africa will become ever poorer. The purpose of NEPAD is to reverse these trends. We must be ambitious about what can be achieved - but all sides of the partnership must be clear that business as usual will not do, and NEPAD must lead to a steep shift in the pace and depth of African development. The first issue is armed conflict. Twenty percent of the people of Africa are living in conditions of conflict. These cause terrible suffering and hold back economic development in the affected countries. The extent of conflict is so great that the whole continent is affected, and this creates a major barrier to inward investment.
The World Bank estimates that conflict is costing Africa 2% economic growth every year. But on conflict resolution we are in a position to make considerable progress. We have learned in Sierra Leone that, with concentrated international effort, conflict can be ended and the institutions of a properly functioning state can begin to be rebuilt. It is also now clear that in the Democractic Republic of Congo, Angola and the Sudan conditions are now ripe for progress towards peace.

This should be the top priority for the NEPAD/G8 meeting in Canada in June. The second major issue for Africa is the need to increase levels of economic growth. After the negative growth in many countries in the late 1980s and early 1990s, sub-Saharan Africa is now achieving an economic growth rate of around 3%. But in order to halve poverty by 2015, sub-Saharan Africa needs 7% economic growth each year from now until 2015. This is not impossible. Countries like Uganda, Mozambique and Botswana are achieving such levels of growth - and the commitment to reform in countries like Ghana, Tanzania, and Ethiopia is likely to lead to significantly greater progress. But the NEPAD partnership must not be satisfied until there is a commitment to reform that is gene-rating 7% annual economic growth across the continent.
This requires better economic and political governance throughout Africa. Poor people need political rights to be able to express their views and preferences, and social and economic rights in order to enjoy their humanity, and see their children grow and thrive. The third issue, which is crucial to NEPAD and its partnership with the G8 and beyond, is fairer terms of trade. Seventy percent - and more -of Africa's exports are unprocessed commodities, and most commodity prices are falling consistently. Current trade rules create serious barriers to the processing that Africa needs to speed up economic growth, to generate higher income for workers, and to be able to afford the imports needed to invest in the better transport infrastructure necessary for development.

But Africa can also do more to encourage trade within the continent. Trade barriers between African countries are high. This creates obstacles to regional integration, economic growth and inward investment. It is entirely within Africa's own gift to agree to the lowering of these barriers, which would contribute significantly to improved economic growth.

The fourth issue that is high on the NEPAD agenda is inward investment and the need for increased investment in infrastructure. There is no doubt that poor transport systems in Africa are a major barrier to economic development and add massively to the cost of exports. Other weaknesses in infrastructure are a reflection of underdevelopment. Most Africans have never used a telephone; less than 10% of rural Africans have access to electricity. The important point is that the reforms needed to encourage the growth of a strong domestic private sector in Africa are the same reforms that are needed to attract more inward investment. And urgent reform is essential because in current conditions 40% of Africa's savings, which should be the basis for increased domestic investment, leave the continent and are invested elsewhere.
The fifth issue crucial to NEPAD's success is increased investment in human development, to secure rapid progress in education and the delivery of effective health-care systems. The high levels of communicable disease in Africa are a major burden holding back the development of the continent. Malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids create a disease burden that is causing great human suffering and severe economic loss.

Recent developments point the way forward in HIV/Aids. Senegal and Uganda have demonstrated that levels of HIV/Aids infection can be drastically reduced with a strong commitment to public education, testing, treatment of sexually transmitted disease and widespread availability of condoms. Many countries are putting in place arrangements to prevent mother-to-child transmission, and to take up the pharmaceutical companies' offers of reduced-price anti- retrovirals. In the longer term, the research evidence is clear that we will have an Aids vaccine and a microbicide that will enable women to protect themselves from infection.

Similarly, education is a basic human right but also a crucial investment for a successful economy. Obviously our aspirations must not stop at primary education.

The final issue is that NEPAD and the Monterrey Consensus call for more and better overseas development assistance. Studies have suggested that we need a doubling of development assistance from the current $ 50-billion to $ 100-billion if the world is to meet the millennium development goals. At Monterrey the European Union committed to increase its overseas development assistance from the current level of 0,33% of gross national income to 0,39% by 2006. This means the EU will spend an additional $ 7-billion a year by 2006, when the US will also be giving an extra $ 5-billion a year. But equally important is the commitment to improve the quality of aid. Against considerable resistance, aid is gradually being untied from the narrow national interests of donors and consultants, to be focused where there are large numbers of poor people and used to back reformers.

In addition, progressive countries have moved away from funding a proliferation of projects to backing poverty-reduction strategies drawn up by developing countries themselves. The consequence has been considerable strengthening of the quality and effectiveness of local institutions including finance ministries, central banks, health and education systems, revenue collection agencies, courts and the security sector. This is itself an improvement in the quality of governance. And the consequent improvement in public financial management enables development agencies to transfer resources direct to government budgets, thus helping to fund rapid improvements in health, education and other poverty-reducing services. NEPAD must build on these reforms.

My conclusion then is clear. If NEPAD is to succeed it must transform the relationship between Africa and the rest of the world. It must bring a new drive, a new political energy and a greatly sharpened focus to our joint efforts to push forward the development of Africa. Most important of all, the people of Africa must be empowered to demand more of their governments and of the international community.
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