Tuesday, 8 March 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
78. Mr. Penrose asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs his views on whether the proposals upon which NEPAD is based should be based on realistic economic assumptions, in view of the collapse in foreign direct investment in South Africa; his further views on the level of savings that it is suggested are necessary to this end from the indigenous sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7730/05]
Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Mr. C. Lenihan): As the Deputy will be aware, NEPAD, the new partnership for Africa’s development, is an African owned and led initiative which is intended to promote and achieve sustainable development in Africa in the 21st century. It is based on the recognition that the primary responsibility for Africa’s future lies not in the hands of donors or multilateral institutions but in the actions of Africa’s governments and people. The objective of NEPAD is to eradicate poverty and place African countries on a path of sustainable growth and development. It is recognised that this must be pursued within a framework of active participation in the world economy and the global body politic.
The initiative was adopted by the then Organisation for African Unity, OAU, at its summit in Lusaka in July 2001. The OAU’s successor, the African Union, AU, at its summit in Maputo in July 2003, decided that NEPAD should be gradually absorbed into the African Union structure over a period of approximately three years. This decision recognised the close inter-relationship between the AU, as the institutional framework for Africa’s integration, and NEPAD as the logical socio-economic programme of the AU, and the wish of African leaders to see the two organisations avoid competition and converge.
NEPAD’s priorities are to establish conditions for sustainable development by ensuring peace and security; democracy and good political, economic and corporate governance; regional co-operation and integration; and capacity building. It seeks to promote policy reforms and increased investment in the following priority sectors: agriculture; human development with a focus on health, education, science and technology and skills development; building and improving infrastructure, including information and communication technology, ICT, energy, transport, water and sanitation; promoting diversification of production and exports, particularly with respect to agro-industries, manufacturing, mining and tourism; accelerating intra-African trade and improving access to markets of developed countries; and the environment.
NEPAD has secured significant support from the UN, G8, EU and from individual donor countries, including Ireland. Donors are understandably attracted by the fact that NEPAD originated with African states and is essentially African owned and driven. In particular, given the difficulties in the past with the quality of government in some African states, they strongly support and encourage NEPAD’s African peer review mechanism which scrutinises, monitors and reports on progress in good governance, both political and economic, through a forum of heads of state of participating countries.
The view of Ireland and of other donors is that NEPAD represents one of the more realistic initiatives to emerge in Africa in recent years. Its focus is to promote an African owned, collective approach to economic development. Ireland contributed €300,000 to NEPAD last year and is currently examining ways of providing more assistance.
The information available to me suggests that foreign direct investment in South Africa is holding up reasonably well. Indeed, in the context of the need for investment and access to capital, NEPAD represents an exciting African initiative which offers a genuine prospect that the needs of South Africa and the other countries of sub-Saharan Africa will be better promoted.
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