The prospects for Arab economic development in the nineties is a highly complex subject that does not easily lend itself to generalizations valid for all countries. As is well known, the countries of the region vary greatly. For the oil countries, development will depend to a very large extent on what happens in the oil markets. Despite intensive efforts to diversify their economies, these countries are still heavily dependent on oil as the major source of income. Other countries may not be so heavily dependent on oil, but a good part of their growth is derived from the oil countries through workers’ remittances, development assistance, and Arab investment and trade. Still another group of countries is only remotely affected by the fortunes of the oil countries and is more concerned with developments in the export markets for their principal products. In addition to variations based on oil resources, Arab countries differ a great deal with respect to levels of development, per capita incomes, whether they export or import capital, and the extent to which they follow inward-looking or export-oriented development strategies. These variations complicate the task of assessing development prospects in the current decade.
What will determine the success of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)? Which policies and measures envisaged under NEPAD need to receive highest priority? Who should be responsible for which task? What can be done to overcome potential risks and to speed up the implementation of action plans? These underlying questions are the themes that reverberate throughout this volume.
We have already found one concrete way for the IMF to support NEPAD: bring together the people who will make it work—the politicians and officials who can encourage, design, and implement open, poverty-reducing, growth-oriented, and equitable policies—with the technicians who can provide advice, research the evidence, and help to monitor the processes. The discussions in this seminar are also showing what NEPAD can achieve: sharing of ideas; honest appraisal of goals, approaches, and relative successes; and a calling to account for past promises and aspirations.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) represents Africa’s response to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s call at the Millennium Summit for a higher priority to achieve “the twin goals of freedom from want and freedom from fear.” It addresses both the issues of security and stability and the issues of socioeconomic development. It is premised on the idea “no peace without development, no development without peace.”
This has been a fine seminar on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Since it was adopted in 2001, NEPAD has attracted worldwide interest and enthusiasm because of its new vision for Africa and its focus on a new partnership between Africa and the international community. NEPAD has been the subject of several high-level meetings and conferences and, based on the work of its steering committee and designated regional institutions, key aspects of the initiative have been further developed in recent declarations by African heads of state and government. This seminar in Dakar, organized by the IMF Institute in the context of its activities with the Joint Africa Institute, has provided an excellent occasion to deepen our understanding of NEPAD, exchange views on its opportunities and challenges, and discuss how the international community can best contribute to success.