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Addis Abeba, African Union
Posted to the web April 5, 2002

Scholars who participated in a consultative meeting on New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and who presented study papers on the NEPAD document revealed that "there is no explicit mechanism established on how the country's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) will be linked to NEPAD program."

Presenting his study paper on the NEPAD document, Getahun Tafesse, Senior Researcher, Ethiopian Economic Association/Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute (EEA/EEPRI) said NEPAD's emphasis seems to lie only on the rate of growth and its sustainability without due considerations about the pattern of the growth.

"The NEPAD framework does not also clearly establish how macro and sectoral interventions would incorporate and translate into poverty reduction outcomes," Getahun said adding that a discussion on poverty specific issues is made only very briefly and in small sections of the document. "No systematic discussion on root causes of poverty in the continent was made and linked to proposed intervention measures. There is no linkage made between the priority sectors identified and underlying poverty problems."

Further stating what NEPAD aims to address and lacks to include, Getahun said NEPAD aims to address basic prerequisites for development in terms of peace and security, good governance, democratic system and popular participation. "These are also necessary prerequisites for sustainable poverty reduction," he said. Beyond these prerequisites, according to Getahun, NEPAD mainly emphasises economic growth as a means to poverty reduction. "Herein lies some gaps or weaknesses of NEPAD." In addition to growth, NEPAD should address issues concerning patterns of growth, equity, insecurity and vulnerability dimension of wellbeing. NEPAD should also, provide clear guidance as to how different initiatives would be integrated into a common framework, he added.

Dr. Alemayehu Areda, Owner and General Manager of Addis Consultancy and Training Service, was the other speaker in the meeting who deliberated on good governance from the context of poverty reduction and development.

Dr. Alemayehu on his part urged that the NEPAD document must go a bit further, to emphasize the need that a fundamental transformation of a relationship between the state and the other two poles of governance is needed if democracies are to endure and if good governance is to prevail.

Speaking on the need to include the role of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Dr. Alemayehu said, "NEPAD should emphasize on the indispensable role of CSOs and NGOs in human development in general and poverty alleviation programs in particular."

"Furthermore, the democracy and political governance initiative of NEPAD, whose core components include political pluralism, fair and free democratic elections, etc. must give enough focus to what is actually happening on the ground in different African countries and to existing electoral systems," Dr. Alemayehu said.

If African leaders are serious about NEPAD or any other initiative, he added, they must help to build the domestic pressure. "This can only be done through actual participation of the civil society and the private sector,"

In both PRSP and NEPAD cases, according to Getahun, the CSOs contribution should be based on poverty reduction goals and realized through engagement with the respective governments.

Forwarding possible considerations for civil society engagement with NEPAD, Getahun said organizing civil society forums to develop engagement principles and establish firm national priorities, reviewing and engineering positions on NEPAD approach in general and its specific components in particular and broadening the scope of current PRSP related institutional structure and activities to encompass NEPAD vision and programs among others are key elements.

Entitled Consultative Meeting on New Partnership for Africa's Development, the workshop was organized by the Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA).