24 May 2002

Africa: Too Close for Comfort?


A leading African intellectual close to the government may have blotted his copybook by signing a declaration criticising the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

Dr Eddy Maloka is head of the Africa Institute of South Africa, a government body, and was a leading member of South Africa's observer mission during the Zimbabwe election.

Last month Maloka signed a declaration endorsed by a range of African intellectuals in Accra, Ghana, which says that while being "well-intentioned", Nepad will "reinforce the hostile external environment and the internal weaknesses that constitute the major obstacles to Africa's development".

Maloka is hosting a Renaissance South Africa Outreach Programme Continental Experts meeting in Pretoria next month on the African Union and Nepad. Those attending the meeting include President Thabo Mbeki, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Zuma and Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology Ben Ngubane.

As a member of the observer mission to Zimbabwe, Maloka co-wrote an article in the Sunday Times defending its finding that the poll was legitimate. He has also served as adviser to former Gauteng premier Mathole Motshekga and current Mpumalanga Premier Ndaweni Mahlangu.

The Nepad declaration was signed at a conference organised by the Council for Development and Social Science Research in Africa and the Third World Network-Africa on African development.

Among Nepad's flaws the declaration lists are its "neo-liberal economic policy framework"; that African people have not played a part in its conception, design and formulation; that it adopts social and economic measures that have contributed to the marginalisation of women; and that it "under-emphasises the external conditions fundamental to Africa's developmental crisis".

The declaration calls for the cancellation of Africa's debt; the reallocation of expenditure away from "wasteful items" such as excessive military expenditure, corruption and mismanagement; and the prevention of capital flight.

It recognises the need for African states that promote social equity, inclusion, national unity and respect for human rights as the basis of economic policy.

Maloka is overseas and was not available to comment.

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