November 30, 2005, THE POST
Lusaka, Zambia

SOME African leaders have been having wrong expectations of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Canadian High Commissioner John Deyell has observed.

During a workshop on NEPAD agriculture activities at Chrismar Hotel yesterday, High Commissioner Deyell said many African presidents have been complaining that NEPAD is not delivering according to what they expected it to deliver.

They complain that many infrastructure development progammes are not financed under NEPAD. There has been disillusionment that huge government-funded infrastructure programmes are not funded from NEPAD funds. It is a wrong expectation. I am not sure that is what NEPAD promised to deliver.” He said.

High Commissioner Deyell said NEPAD’s emphasis was putting in place a good governance mechanism to attract private sector Investment.

He said some countries had already started benefiting from it.

“The emphasis was on regional cooperation and it is bearing fruit for Zambia,” he said.

Referring to the Zambia/Namibia Bridge, the proposed Zambia/Botswana Bridge and Zambia/Malawi railway line, High Commissioner Deyell said such infrastructure programmes were in the spirit of NEPAD.

“I don’t see why African leaders are complaining.” he said.

He said NEPAD provides one of those Pan-African frame-works, which is capturing world attention very effectively.

He, however, said NEPAD would mean nothing until Individual countries picked it up, people understood it and consequently put pressure on their governments to start living up to the principles of NEPAD.

The dialogue that happens between African leaders and the developed world started in 2001 in the context of GS and issues of Africa have been put forward at various fora. The principles that attracted world leaders were two: The admission that Africa was responsible for its own destiny and that Africans would hold each other accountable for good governance.” He said.

The workshop, organized by Participatory Ecological Land-Use Management (PELUM) association and Consumer Unity and Trust Society – Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC), is being held as activity under the partnership project titled: Information-based Advocacy, Networking, and Capacity Building on NEPAD in Zambia, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

The workshop, aims at integrating NEPAD agriculture programmes into the National Development Plan, and build capacity among development actors from both civil society and government to have a comprehensive understanding of the NEPAD agricultural programmes.

PELUM board chairperson Jonathan Chisaka said the workshop was another voice to enhance agriculture.

Chisaka said the agricultural sector was facing massive problems and that certain problems such as weather pattern changes are beyond human capacity.

“But there are things humans can put in place to ensure that they solve these problems. We can direct our energies to solve those problems. We hope we will tap what NEPAD has to offer in terms of agriculture, he said.

Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) director Fr Peter Henriot said agriculture was essential to Zambia’s development considering its impact on feeding people, providing employment and exports.

Fr Henriot said it was relieving that agriculture featured so well, at least in words, in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme and the National Development Plan.