African legislators have criticised the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) initiative as being inefficient in addressing crucial programmes on the continent for which it was created.
NEPAD was formed in 2002 as one of the changes in the new African Union that replaced the Organisation of African Unity.
Debating on NEPAD’s report on the state of infrastructure in Africa, the MPs said that NEPAD is a well elaborated document on paper but its enforcement remains elusive.
They aid that its designers continue to travel to conferences and stay in “air conditioned rooms” while the grassroots Africans which it seeks to help continue to dwell in poverty.
The MPs were discussing the state of Infrastructure in Africa during the 10th session of the Pan African Parliament in Johannesburg yesterday.
They were reacting to a presentation by Algerian MP, Dr. Boudina Mostepha, who emphasised that the state of transport networks in Africa was “very very poor”, and suggested that the transport sector on the continent should be privatised in order to increase its efficiency.
Suzan Vos (South Africa) said that as a result of the poor state of physical infrastructure on the continent, it was very expensive to transport goods and services across boarders among African countries and that this had a great impact on the prevailing high levels of poverty in Africa.
She added that 25 percent of total investment budgets on the continent were taken up by transport costs and hindered integration measures across the continent.
Rachael Chebet (Kenya) said that corruption is the single most important cause of sabotage in developing a vibrant infrastructure network on the continent.
She attributed the culture of political patronage in many African countries as dangerous because incompetent companies, on the basis of their relationship with policy makers, end up getting most contracts to build roads, health centres, railway lines.
“We need to depoliticise infrastructural projects because projects won out of political patronage, only survive for a very short time,” she underscored.
Sunnir Dawarkasing (Mauritius) called upon African policy makers to support the proposed Inga energy project on River Congo in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The Inga project will solve all Africa’s energy requirements once and for all, we need to raise the USD 80bn to fund it,” he rallied.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) is an economic development program of the African Union.
NEPAD was adopted at the 37th session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia.
It aims to provide an overarching vision and policy framework for accelerating economic co-operation and integration among African countries.