Click for Mbeki's address at NEPAD workshop - Jan 2002
NEPAD AND G8 SUMMIT
As the G8 Summit draws closer, world leaders are considering possible outcomes for Africa. Millions of Africans hope to see a breakthrough at the Summit.
NEPAD's Wiseman Nkuhlu
The head of the NEPAD secretariat and Mbeki's economic adviser is Wiseman Nkuhlu. Mbeki will also become the Chair of the African Union in July. This means that the agendas of NEPAD, SADC and the AU are likely to coincide in the implementation process.
Nkuhlu said the NEPAD secretariat was conscious of the fact that Africans had suffered many disappointments and were impatient to see results.
Robert Fowler, the key coordinator of the G8 Summit scheduled for June 22-25 2002 in Canada said in December 2001 that "Statistics show that the quality of life for Africans is so pitiful that economic aid is imperative for the continent."
Most experts agree that traditional forms of aid should not be on the agenda. The main item on the G8 agenda should be to give Africans a fair chance to participate in the international markets.
Africa's share of world trade is less than 2%, and so lowering high and unfair tarrif barriers will do more to solve Africa's problems than any amount of aid.
Whatever commitments the G8 make, the action plan will roll out over the next 10 years, and will be aimed at increased investment and trade and the reduction of poverty and disease. Robert Fowler has dismissed speculation that up to US$64 billion will be spent on Africa, and reduced expectations to US$3-4 billion over ten years.
Canada, the host of the G8 Summit has been pushing for debt-forgiveness and for the industrialised countries to lower trade barriers against African exporters.
In fact, any amount of aid assistance, or increased foreign trade is unlikely to equal or surpass the potential that exists in lifting tarrif barriers between African republics. Estimated savings and profits from increased trade within the African Union would amount to US$11 billion annually if Africans could relax trade restrictions between African republics.
The G8 should discuss governance at the international level, in terms of reducing credit and promotion for weapons sales, and insisting on fair trade terms for Africans, reducing African braindrain, and recognizing that 85% of Africa's "foreign" investment in fact comes from Africans in Diaspora.