United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

15 September 1998


                                                          Original: English
General Assembly
Fifty-third session
Agenda item 24
Implementation of the United Nations New Agenda 
  for the Development of Africa in the 1990s, 
  including measures and recommendations agreed
  upon at its mid-term review

         Implementation of the United Nations New Agenda for the
        Development of Africa in the 1990s, including measures and
           recommendations agreed upon at its mid-term review

                 Progress report by the Secretary-General

                           Executive summary

     Submitted in compliance with General Assembly resolution 51/32 of 6
December 1996, this report presents progress made on the implementation of the
United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s since the
mid-term review in 1996. The report focuses on activities undertaken by the
organizations of the United Nations system.

     Following the introduction, part one of the progress report provides a
summary of the various undertakings by United Nations organizations in meeting
the recommendations of the mid-term review in key priority areas   namely,
economic reform; promotion of the private sector and foreign direct
investment; intensification of the democratization process and the
strengthening of civil society; solution to Africa's debt problem; trade
facilitation and market access; regional cooperation and integration;
environment and development; diversification of African economies;
agriculture, rural development and food security; and the human dimension.

     Part two presents critical issues that hinder the implementation of the
New Agenda. One of them, financial resource flows, is dealt with in detail in
a separate document, as an addendum to the progress report.

     The progress report concludes that, by and large, much has been done
since the mid-term review by the organizations of the United Nations system to
implement the New Agenda. However, further efforts are needed in order to 
accelerate  the  implementation process, including overcoming the difficulties
identified. The recommendations put forward by the Secretary-General in his
April 1998 report to the Security Council, "The causes of conflict and the
promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa", provide a
broad base for achieving this objective.


                                                    Paragraphs   Page

  I.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1-7        3

 II.  Implementation of the New Agenda: review of 
      progress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  8-86       3

      A.  Economic reforms, including the effective 
          mobilization and efficient utilization of 
          domestic resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11-18       4

      B.  Promotion of the private sector and foreign 
          direct investment. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19-24       5

      C.  Intensification of the democratization 
          process and the strengthening of
          civil society. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25-32       6

      D.  Solution of Africa's debt problem. . . . . . 33-36       8

      E.  Trade facilitation and market access . . . . 37-43       8

      F.  Regional and subregional cooperation and 
          integration. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44-51       9

      G.  Environment and development. . . . . . . . . 52-59      10

      H.  Diversification of African economies . . . . 60-64      12

      I.  Agriculture, rural development and food 
          security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65-71      13

      J.  The human dimension. . . . . . . . . . . . . 72-86      14

III.  Critical issues. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87-103     16

      A.  Globalization of the world economy . . . . . 87-91      16

      B.  Enhanced coordination and feedback between 
          the global political process and the 
          operational levels in the field. . . . . . . 92-93      17

      C.  Mobilization of financial resources. . . . . 94-97      17

      D.  Effective follow-up, monitoring and 
          evaluation arrangements. . . . . . . . . . . 98-99      18

      E.  Harmonization of current international and 
          bilateral initiatives. . . . . . . . . . . .100-103     18

 IV.  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .104-105     19

                         I.     Introduction

1.   The present progress report has been submitted in
response to a request by the General Assembly in its
resolution 51/32 of 6 December 1996, on the mid-term
review of the implementation of the United Nations New
Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s. 1/ It aims
at showing progress achieved since the mid-term review,
identifying critical issues related to the implementation of
the New Agenda and providing an opportunity to Member
States to give further guidelines for the implementation of
the Agenda in preparation for the final review and appraisal
in the year 2002.

2.   In its resolution 51/32, the General Assembly
requested the Secretary-General to report on the promotion
of the outcome of the mid-term review, measures taken at
the global level to implement the recommendations of the
mid-term review, and strengthening and improving follow-up, 
monitoring and evaluation arrangements of progress
achieved in the implementation of the New Agenda. The
outcome of the review has been promoted through
dissemination of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the
Whole on the Mid-term Review of the Implementation of
the New Agenda (A/51/48), discussion in various bodies of
the United Nations, including machinery of the Committee
for Programme and Coordination (CPC) and of the
Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC).

3.   Since the review focused on the implementation of the
New Agenda, particular emphasis was put on defining the
linkages between the New Agenda and the United Nations
System-wide Special Initiative on Africa, 2/ adopted by the
Economic Commission for Africa and launched in March
1996. It may be recalled that the mid-term review concluded
that the Special Initiative was complementary to the New
Agenda and that it was designed to facilitate and could
become an impetus for the implementation of all elements
of the New Agenda.

4.   Following the mid-term review, CPC considered, at
its thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth sessions, the linkages
between the New Agenda and the Special Initiative, and
concluded that the latter should be used as the
implementation arm of the former. As a result, the Special
Initiative was renamed the United Nations System-wide
Special Initiative for the Implementation of the United
Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the
1990s. This decision of CPC made it possible to bring the
Special Initiative closer to programme 6 of the United
Nations medium-term plan, 1998-2001, entitled "Africa:
New Agenda for Development". This programme, which
was adopted in 1997, was revised in August 1998 by CPC.

5.   At the global level, the issues raised in the mid-term
review were forcefully addressed by the Secretary-General
in his report to the Security Council entitled "The causes of
conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable
development in Africa" (A/52/871-S/98/318), and a request
was submitted for its consideration by the General
Assembly at its fifty-third session. The recommendations
of the mid-term review also took into consideration the
agenda for action to be adopted by the second Tokyo
International Conference on African Development (19-21
October 1998) which is built around the concepts of
ownership and global partnership highlighted in the mid-term 
review and the priority areas outlined in the New Agenda.

6.   The present report has two parts: part one reviews
progress made in the implementation of the New Agenda
in relation to the recommendations of the mid-term review.
It is mainly based on the submissions of the organizations
of the United Nations system. Most organizations of the
system and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) have
provided inputs with respect to activities carried out in their
respective areas of competence, in implementation of the
recommendations of the mid-term review. Some of the
activities that are reported have been carried out in the
context of the Special Initiative, which is quite in line with
the outcome of the mid-term review. It is to be noted that
the extent and quality of the responses of the organizations
of the system testify to their commitment to implement the

7.   Part two is about critical issues related to the
implementation of the New Agenda. These include the
globalization of the world economy, enhanced coordination
and feedback between the global and the field levels,
effective follow-up, monitoring and evaluation
arrangements, mobilization of financial resources and the
harmonization of various multilateral and bilateral
initiatives on Africa. A major constraint to the
implementation of the New Agenda is the inadequacy of
financial resource flows to the continent. In compliance with
past practice, a separate report is devoted to this issue

       II.     Implementation of the New Agenda:
               review of progress

8.   The review of progress achieved in the
implementation of the New Agenda since the mid-term
review uses the key areas for priority attention identified by
the review for assessing efforts. However, while, for
consistency, the areas reviewed are the same as those of the
review, the activities reported on are often expanded.
Although "financial resource flows" was regarded by the
review as a key area, it has been treated in part two of this
progress report as a critical issue impeding the
implementation of the Agenda.

9.   Poverty eradication was not treated by the review as
a key area, but rather as a cross-cutting issue dealt with
within economic reforms, environment and development,
and human dimension. This approach has been maintained.
However, it is worth noting that since the review, emphasis
has been put on microcredit as a means to empower the
poor, which has prompted the organizations of the United
Nations system to devote particular attention to the subject.
The Secretary-General has submitted to the fifty-third
session of the General Assembly, under agenda item 98, a
report entitled "Role of microcredit in the eradication of
poverty" (A/53/223). It contains information on activities
carried out with respect to microcredit lending in Africa.

10.  It is also worth noting that the Office of the Special
Coordinator for Africa and the Least Developed Countries,
within the Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
published in early 1998 a study entitled "Poverty
eradication in Africa: selected country experiences". The
study presents 14 concrete initiatives of poverty eradication
coming from within Africa which highlight the vast,
inherent potential there for poverty eradication and people-centred
development. Its introduction provides an overview
of some of the more important issues regarding African
poverty and makes recommendations for poverty eradication
in the region.

       A.     Economic reforms, including the effective
              mobilization and efficient utilization of
              domestic resources

11.  Since the mid-term review, African countries have
deepened the progress that had previously been achieved
in several fields, which has led some to speak of an "African
renaissance". Indeed, compared to the early 1990s twice as
many countries (40) recorded growth rates of 3 per cent or
more. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
the average annual growth rate for the continent is 4 5 per
cent, and per capita incomes are on the rise. Moreover,
inflation has dramatically come down, from 36 per cent in
1994 to 10 per cent in 1997. Fiscal deficits have been
reduced by half in the past five years, and external current
account deficits are down to 2.5 per cent of GDP. The flows
of foreign direct investment (FDI), which have increased
by 6 per cent since 1995, have been significant in a number
of African countries. Qualitatively, budgetary allocations
to social expenditures (education, health care and basic
social services) have significantly increased, while military
expenditures, as a proportion of total budgetary outlays,
have declined. Other qualitative changes which underpin
the positive economic performance include greater fiscal
discipline; perseverance with sound macroeconomic
policies; the restructuring of banking, financial systems and
regulatory structures; and the strengthening of the
administrative and legal institutions to bolster transparency
and capacity-building. These efforts have helped to create
a more attractive environment both for capital flows and
official development assistance.

12.  Although these recent economic performances give
rise to optimism, they conceal weaknesses. The savings ratio
averaging 18 per cent of GDP remains far lower than the
minimal desirable rate of 25 per cent. There is a drop in
manufacturing sectors due to sagging domestic demands and
growing competition. Furthermore, African economies
depend on the export of commodities for their development.
Infrastructure problems and supply-side constraints inhibit
their capacity for growth and exports. The situation is all
the more difficult since Africa's heavy debt burden has
increased by 2.1 per cent compared to 1995, making Africa
the continent with the highest debt-to-export ratio.
Moreover, the expansion of trade is hampered in most
African countries by small markets, the high cost of
transactions and transportation, and a lack of sufficient
communication links. With these difficulties in view, the
mid-term review of the New Agenda reaffirmed and
underscored the importance of pursuing economic reform
and stressed the need to encourage domestic savings and
national and foreign investment; improve the public
expenditure patterns as well as the taxation system; achieve
stability in private capital flows; foster seminars, workshops
and training programmes in order to promote deposit
mobilization activities; develop financial intermediation and
ensure that economic reform programmes fight poverty,
generate productive employment and enhance social

13.  As for economic reforms, it should be noted that they
have been effectively implemented in many African
countries, 22 of which have agreements with the IMF's
Extended Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF). These
structural reforms mainly focus on reforming and
developing the agricultural sector, diversifying export,
enhancing the role of fisheries and forestries, improving and
streamlining the civil service, increasing the efficiency of
the energy sector etc.

14.  IMF helped to implement reforms aiming at
establishing and maintaining macroeconomic stability by
opening the economies to the free exchange of goods and
services, both with regional neighbourhoods and with the
world at large. These reforms thus helped to deepen the
integration of, and to equalize Africa's economies into
globalized markets. The World Bank contributed to this by
establishing a special trust fund to support subregional
activities in the education and health components. Measures
are being taken to reinforce and accelerate the pace of
economic liberalization, such as the promotion of
privatization, trade liberalization, labour flexibility and the
strengthening of the financial sector. As regards the latter,
a programme of action for advancing financial
intermediation in Africa was adopted in May 1998 in
Mauritius by a high-level workshop organized by the Office
of the Special Coordinator for Africa and the Least
Developed Countries. The programme, which was
subsequently submitted to African ministers of finance and
governors of central banks, emphasizes the importance of
sound banking management and the need to develop capital
markets and to improve the intermediation role of the
informal financial sector.

15.  The IMF Institute has also helped to promote deposit
mobilization through a range of courses, seminars and
training. Financial programmes, current legal issues
affecting central banks, banking soundness and monetary
policy, public finance etc. are among the topics studied in
seminars organized for about 50 sub-Saharan countries.
Senior-level seminars or workshops have been initiated too,
in order to bring together senior officials from Africa to
discuss specialized cases of particular relevance to their

16.  Furthermore, a number of countries have introduced
reforms on their taxation system in order to increase its
efficiency and transparency. Among these countries,
mention should be made of Burkina Faso, Cameroon,
Madagascar and the United Republic of Tanzania, which
have introduced the value-added tax (VAT), and of 
Guinea-Bissau and Rwanda, which are reforming their general tax

17.  An attractive environment has also been created by
compelling policy reforms in order to encourage foreign
direct investment (FDI). The overall legal structure has been
improved, particularly with respect to rules and regulations
pertaining to the formation of business entities, enforcement
of contract, private ownership rights and transfers of
property and assets, assessment and payments of taxes, etc.

18.  In addition, the World Bank has been fostering
resource mobilization in Africa through sectoral investment
programmes (SIPs), using existing donor coordination

        B.     Promotion of the private sector and
               foreign direct investment

19.  Since the mid-term review, certain African countries
have encouraged privatization as an instrument of resource
mobilization, while others have created a more enabling
environment for attracting FDI. The renewed interest in the
private sector and the emphasis on its role in the
development of Africa have been driven by several
considerations, including the vital role of private
investments in economic growth, employment and income
generation, the importance of FDI as a vehicle for resource
and skills transfer and an important factor in overcoming
the problems of small markets, the high costs of transactions
and transportation and insufficient communication links.
While Africa needs to attract foreign direct investment and
many of the African countries have undertaken measures to
improve laws and regulations governing FDI, only a very
small percentage of total flows of FDI goes to Africa,
mainly concentrating in minerals and energy sector. The
major African recipients of FDI at present include Nigeria,
Egypt, Morocco, Angola, Tunisia and Ghana. The total FDI
flows to Africa amounted to US$ 5.3 billion in 1996, against
US$ 5.0 billion in 1995 and US$ 5.8 billion in 1994.

20.  The importance of the private sector and of the
enhancement of foreign direct investment in the
development of Africa were underlined by the mid-term
review, which recommended a wide range of measures
including the improvement of the physical, institutional and
social infrastructures in order to attract further domestic and
foreign direct investment; the implementation of specific
measures to attract foreign and domestic investment; the
encouragement of further privatization measures;
engagement in more aggressive investment promotion
activities; the promotion of regional and subregional
cooperation and integration, particularly in the area of
regional trade liberalization and trade expansion; the
strengthening of partnership; the improvement of financial
institutional infrastructure; building human resources and
capacities for private-sector development; and the
promotion of the informal sector and microenterprises
through the provision of microcredit, training, efficient
technology and management skills.

21.  In support of the private sector, in May 1997 in Accra,
Ghana, the Economic Commission for Africa organized an
International Conference on Reviving Private Investment
in Africa: Partnership for Growth and Development. The
Conference recognized the merits of the private sector and
addressed major issues of relevance to the New Agenda
from the perspectives of severe budgetary constraints,
declining ODA, lack of access to commercial lending and
the role of FDI in Africa. It called on international and
regional organizations to launch activities that could revive
private investment on the continent.

22.  In the context of that Conference, the United Nations
Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the
African Business Round Table examined the characteristics
of the investment environment and the issue of realization
of investment opportunities in Africa. Other issues dealt
with by the Conference included policy and institutional
issues in domestic and foreign investment, reduction of
impediments and obstacles in achieving regional
integration, institutional reforms, agribusiness, financial
services and capital markets. Lessons learned from
experiences of regional economic communities such as the
Southern African Development Coordination (SADC) and
the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) were
also examined. The Conference also considered issues
critical to attracting FDI, including highways and roads,
energy, telecommunications, institutional reforms,
promoting joint ventures, generating financing for
investment and opportunities and challenges for women
entrepreneurs. The Conference concluded with a round table
summit of Heads of State and Governments and launched
the African Capital Market Forum.

23.  Under the framework of the Special Initiative on
Africa, a programme of action aimed at the promotion of
informal-sector and employment-generating opportunities
was prepared, under the leadership of the ILO, by the 
Inter-Agency Task Force on Poverty Reduction in Africa. The
programme consists of six sub-components -- namely, an
enabling environment of informal-sector development;
access to financial services; education and training;
industrial and manufacturing activities; rural non-farm
activities and infrastructures. In addition, a number of
national workshops bringing together informal groups, 
non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies,
bilateral and multilateral organizations were held under the
umbrella of an ECA project designed to promote the
informal sector in Ethiopia and Zambia. The methodological
approach of the project and the main results will be the
subject of a manual to be disseminated to ECA member

24.  Workshops were organized by the Women's World
Banking and UNDP to build microfinance networks in
Africa, through regional programmes. In addition, ECA
implemented a study on reconciling indigenous informal and
formal microfinancing systems and practices in Africa and
initiated another study on the role of microfinancing as an
instrument for sustaining the operations of micro/small
enterprises, including informal enterprises. The study
reviews the current practices and programmes of
microfinancing in 11 countries, analyses policies, strategies
and the main constraints, and addresses appropriate
recommendations to Governments, financial institutions,
non-governmental organizations, informal-sector
associations and micro and small entrepreneurs. In 1997,
UNDP launched a major regional initiative, Enterprise
Africa, for a total of US$ 9 million, to provide a regional
framework for facilitating and coordinating the support
activities for small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa.
Twenty countries are currently being assisted in establishing
new enterprise support programmes or strengthening
existing ones.

        C.     Intensification of the democratization
               process and the strengthening of civil

25.  The mid-term review recommended, among others,
that African countries should strengthen existing efforts to
improve governance, continue to broaden popular
participation, and implement effectively and fully the
African Charter for Popular Participation in Development
and Transformation, whereas non-governmental
organizations should be enabled to be fully involved in the
implementation of the New Agenda and, together with
community-based organizations, better coordinate their
policies, programmes and activities among themselves and
with Governments. The review further recommended that
the role of women in development and in the decision-making 
process should be strengthened, and that lasting
solutions to conflicts and civil strife must be found and the
root causes of conflict addressed. In line with these
recommendations, several activities were undertaken by
various organizations within the United Nations system in
order to assist African Governments.

26.  UNDP, the Department of Economic and Social
Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, ECA and the
Global Coalition for Africa (GCA) organized several
meetings to review ongoing reforms in support of
democratic transition and good governance. The
ECA/Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Conference on Governance in Africa made various
recommendations on education for democracy, covering
issues related to peace, tolerance and respect for diversity,
the building of democratic institutions, and a free and fair
electoral system and process, and highlighted the role of
media as an essential component of good governance. ECA
and GCA also organized a colloquium on the process of
integrating the military into the mainstream of the
democratic reform movement in Africa. Since 1997, UNDP
and ECA have annually sponsored the African Governance
Forum (AGF) which provides a platform for Africans and
their external partners in the donor community, international
organizations, non-governmental organizations and
organizations of civil society to engage in a dialogue on the
state of governance in the continent through the review of
national governance programmes. The AGF process has a
qualitative impact on the ability to strengthen partnership
and move towards consensus among African Governments,
organizations of civil society and the international
community around good governance and democratic
practices. Together with the Africa Governance Inventory,
a new UNDP initiative in collaboration with the Department
of Economic and Social Affairs, the AGF process also
provides impetus for more effective coordination and
mobilization of support for governance programmes in

27.  Since the International Conference on Popular
Participation in Development, held in Arusha, Tanzania in
1990, the emerging role of non-governmental organizations
has been reaffirmed. An impressive network of indigenous
and international grassroots non-governmental
organizations has supported a wide range of development
actions in Africa, especially in the major areas of fostering
community participation, promoting self-help employment
among rural women and youth, uplifting the poor and
protecting the right of consumers. In the context of popular
participation in development, ECA has been addressing the
following issues: strengthening development management
with a focus on the promotion of popular participation in
development, enhancing dialogue between Governments and
civil society, and strengthening the capacities of
organizations of civil society.

28.  ECA has established the African Centre for Civil
Society which is entrusted with enhancing cooperation
among African Governments and civil society and
encouraging Governments to support an enabling
environment for the growth of non-governmental
organizations and organizations of civil society. Through
this process some Governments are gradually translating
democratic principles into explicit policies. In Botswana,
for instance, democracy was institutionalized through an
extensive use of the traditional assembly as a consultative
machinery. For its part, the International Fund for
Agricultural Development (IFAD), in the context of its 
two-pronged policy approach -- strengthening local participation,
and support for the decentralization of government -- is
providing assistance to the mobilization of community for
self-sustainability and the strengthening of civil society.
Projects in this framework are already being implemented
in Uganda and Rwanda.

29.  A new dimension on children's rights was highlighted
at the "Children's Summit" organized by OAU in 1997
which culminated in the establishment of a number of
children's parliaments or similar organizations in eight
African countries. At that time, UNICEF continued to work
on building and broadening partnerships for children. For
example, in Accra, UNICEF organized a meeting of local
governmental authorities, non-governmental organizations
and United Nations agencies to discuss measures that should
be taken by local governments in fulfilling their
responsibilities for the well-being of Africa's children.

30.  By and large, efforts are increasing to reform civil and
penal legislation in light of two major conventions  
namely, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),
and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women -- and to promote the
participation of children and youth on issues concerning the
rights of children and women.

31.  As for the recommendation calling for a lasting
solution to conflicts and civil strife in Africa, it should be
noted that a great deal of effort has been made by
international, regional and subregional organizations.
UNESCO and ECA held a regional consultative meeting on
communication for peace-building in Africa. The meeting
promoted the use of the communications media to promote
peace, tolerance, democracy, good governance and respect
for human rights. UNESCO, through its Culture of Peace
Programme, is addressing targeted educational and
information programmes on the reconstruction of the
educational system (Somalia), rebuilding peace and
democracy (Burundi), human rights, tolerance and
democracy (Rwanda), support to peace-building and
democratic institutions (Mali), and culture of peace and
governance (Mozambique). In addition, UNESCO, in
collaboration with OAU and other United Nations agencies,
has initiated a number of peace-building activities with
targeted groups, such as parliamentarians, on issues related
to democracy-building at the regional and subregional

32.  Within the framework of the 1991 treaty establishing
the AEC (Abuja Treaty), in June 1993 OAU established a
mechanism for conflict prevention, management and
resolution which addresses issues of peace, security and
stability and such other related subjects as governance and
democracy. Moreover, OAU, together with concerned
United Nations agencies, convened a number of round
tables on conflict situations, with a view to raising the
required resources in addressing the socio-economic
problems in countries concerned. UNDP is currently
supporting the capacity-building of the OAU mechanism to
the tune of US$ 3 million. This support aims at generating
better information on conflict situations and establishing
and operating an effective early warning system with the
most up-to-date information infrastructure.

        D.     Solution of Africa's debt problem

33.  One of the most pressing issues facing Africa is the
problem of external debt. It is encouraging to note that, in
the framework of ongoing economic reforms, efforts have
been made by all concerned parties to find a decisive
solution to the unsustainable debt burden of Africa and
thereby provide the needed resources to poor countries. The
international community agreed to further reduce the debt
burden of poor countries through the recent debt initiative
for heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC), which was
endorsed by the most industrialized countries at their annual
summit in 1996. At the last summit, in May 1998, the group
stated its support for the speedy and determined extension
of debt relief to more countries, within the terms of the
HIPC initiative. The Secretary-General, in the 1998 report
to the Security Council on Africa (A/52/871-S/98/318),
urged creditor countries to convert all the remaining official
debt of the poorest African countries into grants. The
Secretary-General also called upon the Bretton Woods
institutions to significantly ease and quicken access to
facilities for heavily indebted poor countries and to provide
sufficient resources to enable them to attain a substantial
and sustained pace of economic growth and social
development. On their own part, African countries
undertook efforts to escape from the debt trap by proposing,
through the Organization of African Unity, that an
international agreement be reached in order to clear the
entire debt stock for the poorest countries in Africa within
a reasonably short period of time and in the context of
Africa's overall economic reforms.

34.  Emphasizing the important role that the international
community should play in addressing the unsustainable debt
problems of African countries, the mid-term review stressed
the need to pursue efforts to reduce further the African debt.
One measure taken by the international financial community
is the decision on the part of the IMF Interim Committee to
support the continuation of the Enhanced Structural
Adjustment Facility (ESAF) through the establishment of
a self-sustained ESAF. ESAF is a framework by which the
IMF participates in the initiative for the heavily indebted
poor countries. It includes current resources through 1999;
a four-year period of interim ESAF (2000 2004, with a
commitment capacity of about SDR 1.0 billion per year),
and a self-sustained ESAF starting in 2005, with a
commitment capacity of about SDR 0.8 billion per year. The
total financing need for the interim ESAF and the HIPC
initiative is currently estimated at SDR 2.8 billion on an "as
needed" basis. Of this amount, SDR 1.7 billion would be
devoted to the interim ESAF subsidy operations and SDR
1.1 billion to special ESAF operations under the HIPC
initiative. At the end of 1997, the Fund has made progress
in obtaining bilateral contributions from member countries.

35.  Uganda was the first country to be eligible under the
HIPC initiative and will receive debt relief equivalent to
US$ 338 million, or 19 per cent of its outstanding debt. The
Fund's share of US$ 69 million will be provided in the form
of a grant used to finance debt service. Burkina Faso is
another country considered eligible under the HIPC
initiative, with debt relief of US$ 115 million. Eight other
African countries qualified in 1998 for debt relief under the
initiative -- Ethiopia, Co^te d'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali,
Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal and Togo.

36.  UNCTAD, as an observer in the Paris Club, provides
support to debtor countries, upon request. The support
ranges from providing information on developments in the
proceedings and practices of the Paris Club to offering
advice and technical support in the preparation of meetings,
including financial simulations. In building local capacity,
UNCTAD has decided to decentralize its Debt Management
and Financial Analysis system programme, to the regional
level. In collaboration with the World Bank, UNESCO has
developed a mechanism which diminishes the debt of
African countries in direct proportion to their expenditures
on basic education. Burkina Faso and the Republic of
Congo are the first two countries to adopt this procedure.

        E.     Trade facilitation and market access

37.  In spite of various efforts by African countries to
implement trade policy reforms, Africa's share of the global
market has remained low and accounts for only 2 per cent
of world trade. According to UNCTAD's 1997 report,
although the 48 least developed countries, of which 33 are
African, have about 10 per cent of the world's population,
they ship only 0.37 per cent of global exports and 1.4 per
cent of developing country exports. Furthermore, most
African countries continue to rely on a single commodity
for more than three quarters of their total exports.

38.  As part of his advocacy role, the Secretary-General
took up the issue of opening international markets to
African countries. In his report on Africa, he urged
developed countries to put an end to tariff escalation by
adopting a common policy to eliminate trade barriers on
African products and to provide further assistance to
African countries to enable them to adjust to a global and
competitive trade environment, including sustaining their
own tariff reductions. The mid-term review expressed the
same views in a number of recommendations, including
further improvement of African external trade and support
by the international community of African efforts to develop
and maintain trade infrastructures, enhance institutional and
human capacities, and provide increased technical and
financial support to improve the competitiveness of African
least developed countries and to consider further reduction
in tariffs as well as the removal of non-tariff barriers for
African products.

39.  To build regional and country capacity for trade, in
January and December 1997, in Harare and Mauritius,
UNCTAD organized two workshops -- one on agriculture
and industrial development, and one on the role of trade,
including regional trade, and structural adjustment policies
in Africa. Another workshop, on issues relevant to the
review of the Lome' IV convention and co-sponsored by the
International South Group Network, is due to start later in

40.  In addition to a number of investment and trade-related 
projects in various countries in Africa, UNCTAD,
through a project on networking through trade and direct
investment in commodities and other products brought
together Asian and African entrepreneurs in a series of
workshops in Asia and Africa to explore possible business

41.  In cooperation with OAU and the Arab League
Secretariats, UNCTAD also organized an interregional
economic cooperation forum in 1997. Efforts are being
made at the regional level to implement decisions
concerning the elimination of non-tariff barriers in trade
within the Common Market for East and Southern African
States (COMESA). COMESA is expected to expand with
the inclusion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and
the construction of a transport grid that would directly link
East and West Africa.

42.  While the IMF has provided input to, and supported
the implementation of, the recent initiatives to foster trade
and investment in Africa, IFAD has been concentrating on
the improvement of rural infrastructure, particularly feeder
roads in eastern and southern Africa to assist with the
marketing of agricultural production. ECA, in collaboration
with UNCTAD and the World Trade Organization (WTO),
held an ad hoc expert group meeting in 1997 to assist
African countries to adjust to the post-Uruguay Round
economic and trading environment. In addition, ECA has
been providing advisory services to African countries
through its participation in various meetings on trade
facilitation and market access, and the publication of
working papers.

43.  An integrated programme of technical cooperation for
the least developed and other African countries, organized
jointly by UNCTAD/WTO and the International Trade
Centre (ITC) is being established, to provide assistance for
human resource development and institution-building and
to support measures to strengthen export supply capabilities.
UNDP, the World Bank and IMF have provided support in
the formulation of the programme. In order to implement
it, in March 1998 WTO, UNCTAD and ITC launched a
common trust fund for technical assistance to Africa in the
trade sector. The fund aims at attracting contributions to
cover the expenses of seven sub-Saharan partner countries
and to support ongoing deliberations on improving the
efficiency of official development assistance. UNDP has
also contributed to the fund.

        F.     Regional and subregional cooperation and

44.  To accelerate regional and subregional economic
cooperation and integration, the mid-term review
recommended that African countries should step up the
process of harmonizing and rationalizing the institutional
framework for regional and subregional economic
integration, continue to provide the necessary resources to
financial and institutional support, especially in transport
and communications, and encourage the participation of the
private sector in promoting regional and subregional
economic cooperation. The mid-term review also called
upon the international community to complement Africa's
efforts towards regional integration.

45.  The increasing interest and commitment of African
States and Governments to regional integration and
cooperation have been demonstrated through various efforts
since the review. The Economic and Social Council of the
African Economic Community (AEC) was inaugurated in
1996 and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government
of the AEC held its first session in 1997. The protocol on
the relations between AEC and the regional economic
communities, which provides the legal, functional and
institutional machinery required to implement various
elements of the Abuja Treaty, was signed in 1998. In view
of the importance of immense water-supply and hydro-electric 
potential of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
to the southern Africa region, the adhesion of that country
to SADC as its newest member could greatly contribute to
fostering the integration of the subregion and beyond.

46.  The UNDP regional cooperation framework for Africa
(1997 2001) has identified trade and economic integration
as its critical entry points. Emphasis is placed on facilitating
cooperation on such issues as lowering tariff and non-tariff
barriers and other forms of restrictions, including customs
valuations, pre-shipment inspection, sanitary measures,
inter-bank settlement transactions, trade information-sharing, 
migratory labour, and transport and telecommunications. 
Other areas of attention in the near future will include 
supporting selected regional cooperation arrangements through 
training on cross-cutting issues such as product and export 
diversification and trade finance.

47.  ECA is promoting the building of an effective
utilization of networks of transport and communication
infrastructures, including the preparation of policy
framework reports, the organization of policy meetings to
increase awareness, and building consensus on various
issues. ECA, ECLAC and the Port Management Association
for Eastern and Southern Africa jointly organized a
workshop on port commercialization issues and in
November 1997 convened the Eleventh Meeting of the
Conference of African Ministers of Transport and
Communications which adopted a framework for action for
accelerating the implementation of the Second Transport
and Communications Decade in Africa (1991 2000). ECA
also carried out its activities as lead agency for the
coordination of the implementation of the Yamoussoukro
Declaration on a New African Air Transport Policy.

48.  For its part, OAU is addressing the issue of freedom
of movement of persons throughout the region as well as
questions related to a greater cooperation between AEC and
regional economic communities for further complementarity
and for pooling resources. An important element of this
cooperative effort is the transport and communications
infrastructure in promotion of regional integration. Through
a project of US$ 1.8 million, UNDP has been supporting
OAU in developing its institutional capacity to manage the
establishment of the African Economic Community. Within
the project, UNDP also provides support to subregional
groupings, including SADC and l'Union e'conomique et
mone'taire ouest afri ain, which are involved in the
promotion of economic cooperation and integration in

49.  The International Monetary Fund, through its policy
advice mechanism, plays an important role in fostering the
integration efforts of various African regional organizations.
The Fund's policy advice and surveillance functions and its
technical assistance are supportive of the efforts of the
African Economic Community.

50.  Through education, science and culture, UNESCO
promotes regional cooperation among African countries. In
recent years, the cooperation between UNESCO and OAU
has been enhanced on various issues related to the exchange
of information, conflict prevention, promotion of regional
and subregional integration, and provision of technical
assistance. Moreover, UNESCO's relations with
subregional organizations such as SADC have also been
reinforced in the areas of human resource development,
culture and information, science and technology and gender

51.  In an effort to encourage the participation of the
private sector in issues regarding regional cooperation,
IFAD has financed two related activities -- a smallholder
policy initiative for eastern and southern Africa, together
with COMESA, and a programme to strengthen the African
Regional Rural Credit Association, through technical
exchanges. These programmes aim at initiating and
promoting linkages between the informal and formal sectors
of financial institutions in member countries.

        G.     Environment and development

52.  To promote and achieve sustainable development and
to minimize the environmental degradation, the mid-term
review concluded that urgent measures to address the
problem of poverty as one of the causes of environmental
degradation should be taken; strategies and measures to
implement the Bamako Convention of 1991 should be put
in place, and measures to support the effective
implementation of all the initiatives emanating from the
United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development and related issues should be adopted. It also
called for an early ratification by all countries of the United
Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in those
Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or
Desertification, particularly in Africa, and for measures on
the effective implementation of that Convention.

53.  As part of efforts to implement these
recommendations, in November 1997 UNEP organized, in
close cooperation with the ECA and OAU, the seventh
session of the African Ministerial Conference on the
Environment (AMCEN). At the Session the Conference was
established as a constitutional intergovernmental body on
environment and development, and key environmental
programme priorities were identified for implementation at
the national, subregional and regional levels. Various topics
were discussed, including freshwater resource development
and management, environmentally sound management of
all types of waste, sustainable management, conservation
and use of all types of forests, sustainable conservation of
biological diversity, and ratification and implementation of
international environment agreements of relevance to

54.  UNEP was also involved in a number of joint
activities with the Water Sector Coordination Unit of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), geared
towards building capacities of SADC member States in the
development and management of water resources. Within
the framework of the Special Initiative for Africa, UNEP
collaborated with SADC in the development of a draft
regional action plan for integrated water resources
development and management in the SADC countries

55.  As a lead agency on the priority issue of water, the
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is about to
propose a detailed implementation and budgetary plan on
freshwater for the Steering Committee of the Special
Initiative on Africa. WMO has also been supporting African
countries in developing the capabilities of national
meteorological and hydrological services. A joint
UNDP/WMO project on drought monitoring which provides
countries with timely information and warnings on weather
patterns is currently being implemented. WMO is also
providing technical, scientific and financial support to the
Tropical Cyclone Committee for the South-west Indian
Ocean, which is working to improve cyclone warning
systems and related meteorological services.

56.  Within the framework of the Convention to Combat
Desertification, the United Nations Sudano-Sahelian Office
(UNSO) has supported 22 countries in developing national
action programmes. Of those, 10 countries have held their
first forum at the national level aimed at defining priority
programmes, funding arrangements and implementation of
national action programmes, and agreeing on institutional
support mechanisms. UNSO has also provided catalytic
funding and technical support for the establishment of
national desertification funds in 20 countries. In 16
countries such funds have been set up, and national
workshops have been held in four countries. Additionally,
UNSO has continued to backstop 14 projects in the
drylands, relating to integrated resource management and
amounting to US$ 25 million. A pilot programme on
promoting farmer innovation in rain-fed agriculture in three
East African countries has been launched, and resources are
being mobilized to extend the programme in southern and
western Africa.

57.  The Office of the Special Coordinator for Africa and
the Least Developed Countries of the Department of
Economic and Social Affairs, the Secretariat of the
Convention for Combating Desertification and the
Governments of Japan, China and Niger co-organized in
August 1996 and September 1997, the First and Second
Asia/Africa Forums on Combating Desertification. The First
Forum culminated in the adoption of the Beijing Framework
for Action on Asia/Africa Cooperation on Combating
Desertification and or Mitigating the Effect of Drought; the
Second Forum decided upon the activities to be promoted
and implemented by the participating countries for the two-year 
period 1997 1999. Since the mid-term review, the
United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification has
been ratified and come into force. The Conference of Parties
held in Rome in September 1997 decided upon the location
of the secretariat of the Convention and on administrative
matters concerning the secretariat.

58.  In 1996 UNIDO launched an ecologically sustainable
industrial development project based on lessons learned.
Through its programme on ozone-depleting substances,
UNIDO has also assisted several African countries,
including Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Co^te
d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, United
Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe in their environmental
effort in the reduction of chlorofluorocarbon production in
refrigeration, aerosols and foams. Also, through UNIDO's
programme related to cleaner production centres, a core of
national experts are trained to disseminate information on
pollution abatement at the factory level and to organize in-plant
demonstrations for local entrepreneurs. Two such
centres have been established, in the United Republic of
Tanzania and Zimbabwe. UNIDO is also carrying out a
programme in the Gulf of Guinea, which aims at adopting
an effective regional approach to prevent water pollution
and conserve bio-diversity in its large marine ecosystem.
The project covers institution-building and water quality
and ecological monitoring in six countries   Benin,
Cameroon, Co^te d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo.

59.  Through its programme "Man and the Biosphere" and
its four sub-networks covering the four major ecosystems
characteristic of the region (forests and savannahs, arid and
semi-arid zones, mountains, and coastal regions), UNESCO
is trying to reconcile environmental conservation, cultural
integrity and economic development and to encourage local
communities to actively participate in the management of
local resources.

        H.     Diversification of African economies

60.  In spite of an increase in the share of the developing
countries in world industrial production, from 17 per cent
in 1980 to around 20 per cent in 1995, Africa's overall
industrial performance has continued to lag behind. There
was a slowdown in the mining subsector in 1997 which
caused the global output of the industrial sector to increase
by only 3.3 per cent, compared to 5.4 per cent in 1996.
However, the performance of some mining industries has
been encouraging: gold production in Ghana increased by
10 per cent in the first half of 1997 and the oil sector grew
faster than commodity production in 1997.

61.  Manufacturing in Africa is dominated by three labour-intensive,
resource-based, low-technology industries which
focus narrowly on the primary processing of locally
produced agricultural and mineral commodities and absorb
85 per cent of total investment. The three -- the food-processing, 
beverage and textile industries -- accounted for
a combined share of 43.7 per cent of GDP in sub-Saharan
Africa in 1994 and during the period under review. Not only
do these industries have lower income elasticity in the
international market but they are also subject to fluctuations
in the demand and the prices of primary commodities.
Structural transformation, political stability, investment in
human capital and, overall, an acceleration in the
transformation from raw material producers to processors
will have to be achieved in order to broaden and deepen
Africa's manufacturing base and expand skill-intensive
industries with higher income elasticity in the international

62.  Since the mid-term review, UNIDO's effort to
contribute to the New Agenda has been embodied in the
Alliance for Africa's Industrialization (AAI), which is the
implementation mechanism for a refocused Second
Industrial Development Decade for Africa. Launched
formally in October 1996 in Abidjan, Co^te d'Ivoire, the
Alliance relies on two fundamental principles: ownership
by African Governments, which assume leadership in
decision-making and priority setting at all stages of the
development process; and private-sector-led industrial
development, which brings into focus investment promotion
and environment degradation. The goals of the Alliance are
threefold: to develop Africa-oriented industrial development
strategies addressing, directly and effectively, Africa's
principal problems of low industrial output and domestic
value added, unemployment, poverty and food security; to
stimulate increased international commitment to African
industrial development and generate increased support to
promoting sustainable industrial growth and
competitiveness; and to promote regional industrial
partnerships aimed at the attainment of economies of scale
and meeting the emerging demands in regional and
international markets. The Alliance also has three main
components: capacity-building for industrial
competitiveness; linking industry and agriculture to enhance
productivity and competitiveness in agro-industries; and
promoting private investment and other forms of
international industrial cooperation.

63.  UNIDO's main activity in 1998 involves the
establishment of industrial partnership councils, which are
the national machinery responsible for implementing the
Alliance plan of action. Partnership councils, comprising
representatives from both the private and public sectors,
will have to devote attention to economic diversification in
the elaboration of national industrial action plans. Economic
diversification, as a major way to get out of commodity
dependence and its related problems and to contribute to
more dynamic and resilient economies in Africa, was much
debated during the mid-term review. It led to the adoption
of a number of recommendations, including an invitation
to donor countries to contribute to financing the preparatory
phase of commodity diversification projects and
programmes; and to the Common Fund for Commodities to
facilitate the procedures for submitting diversification
projects, intensify cooperation with African regional
economic organizations, establish a project formulation
facility using African expertise, and enhance the capacity
of African countries to design commodity diversification

64.  For its part, the Common Fund for Commodities has
taken steps to implement the recommendations of the mid-term 
review. It held workshops and round-table meetings
in Co^te d'Ivoire (July 1996) and Zambia (November 1997)
and intended to hold one in United Republic of Tanzania
(December 1998), on how to advance commodity
development and diversification measures, including ways
to share experiences and information on commodity
diversification projects. Secondly, at its eighth annual
meeting, held in December 1996 in Marakesh, Morocco, the
Governing Council of the Common Fund recognized the
need to implement the recommendations of the mid-term
review and the decision taken by UNCTAD at its ninth
session, requesting the Fund to direct its programme more
towards commodity-sector diversification projects. Thirdly,
at its ninth annual meeting, held in Amsterdam in December
1997, it decided to establish a Project Preparation Facility
for Africa and the least developed countries, with an initial
amount of $1 million. This initial contribution is far below
the amount of $50 million proposed by the Secretary-General in his 
report to the General Assembly at its forty-eighth session 
(A/48/335); however, it should be noted that
the Common Fund has always insisted that the Facility
should be demand-driven; in other words, replenishment
should follow demand. As regards donor countries,
information made available for the preparation of this report
does not indicate any specific efforts by donor countries,
especially those participating in the African Development
Fund existing within the African Development Bank.

        I.     Agriculture, rural development and food

65.  1996 was an exceptional year for African agricultural
production: its growth rate of 5.2 per cent was the highest
since 1990. The food subsector and especially cereals
production contributed to this rebound, as well as the
positive impact of the ongoing reforms, conducive weather
and the international price recovery. But the strong recovery
was not sustained in 1997, a year during which the
agricultural production growth decelerated to 1.7 per cent.
The food subsector faced serious difficulties, with a drop
of 10.5 per cent in cereals production. This generally poor
record, mainly due to erratic changes in weather conditions
in a region where most countries depend overwhelmingly
on rain-fed agriculture, points to serious gaps in food supply
for the majority of African countries.

66.  The resumption of agricultural progress will require
considerable improvements in production techniques and
increases in actual production in the coming years. To that
effect, the mid-term review recommended that the following
measures be taken: implement policies that enhance
agricultural productivity to increase food production and
boost exports earnings and ensure adequate budgetary
allocations to agricultural modernization; develop rural
economies in order to increase incomes; diversify
agricultural output; promote agrobased industries; improve
access to training, agricultural skills, new technologies and
extension services; exchange country and regional
experiences in rural energy planning methodologies; support
and assist the promotion of local food production; promote
agricultural methods that use sound ecological practices;
facilitate technical developments to improve the storage,
distribution and marketing of food and diversify food

67.  In implementing the New Agenda, in 1994 FAO
launched a Special Programme for Food Security, which is
already operational in 18 African countries, under
preparation in 21, and about to be formulated in the
remaining five. FAO provided assistance to all African
member States in the preparation of draft strategies for
national agricultural development: Horizon 2010, which is
a major element in the follow-up to the World Food Summit
and relevant to the realization of the objectives of the New
Agenda. Assistance has been provided to a number of
African countries in the preparation of round-table meetings
with a view to mobilizing resources for sustainable food
security, agriculture and rural development. In-service
training at the country and regional levels, including
dissemination of training materials, is also part of FAO
assistance to African countries.

68.  Since 1997 FAO has operated over 72 relief and early
rehabilitation projects in 24 African countries, for a total
exceeding US$ 22 million. In addition to relief and early
rehabilitation, FAO has provided assistance to countries
affected by natural or man-made disasters.

69.  Assistance in strengthening the institutional
environment within markets, civil society and Governments
is being provided with the objective of achieving
sustainable agriculture and rural development. FAO is
currently engaged in supporting the Presidential
Commission on Land Reform in Malawi and in assisting
Zimbabwe to write a land policy that will lead to a more
equitable distribution of agricultural land.

70.  UNCTAD provided assistance on risk management
issues, primarily in Uganda, the United Republic of
Tanzania, Zimbabwe and South Africa. After the Expert
Meeting on Vertical Diversification in the Food-processing
Sector in Developing Countries, UNCTAD hopes to expand
such assistance to diversification issues.

71.  UNIDO's projects on the linkage of agriculture and
industry covered the leather and footwear industry (in
Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, United
Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe), traditional
textiles for West Africa (Guinea, Mali), improved quality
in fish processing (Mauritania), and technical advice on the
coordination of the forestry master plan (Ghana). Co-financing 
from the Commonwealth Fund for Commodities
provided funds for a project on product and market
development for sisal and henequen, including a
comprehensive package covering the entire range of
activities, from the development of new sisal varieties, to
the improvement of sisal cultivation and processing, to
technology dissemination and investment promotion. The
project has a complementary component dealing with the
use of sisal wastes for bio-energy.

        J.     The human dimension

72.  Since the mid-term review, progress has been made
in the human dimension: improvements in health care have
led to a decrease in mortality rates; national population
policies have, in most cases, been successfully put in place;
literacy and gender parity in access to education have
increased; and women have been playing an increasingly
important role in the development of the continent. Despite
these achievements, there is still cause for concern. In 1997,
the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) categorized
35 African countries as "low human development".
Although this indicator measures only life expectancy,
illiteracy and three standard-of-living indicators, the fact
that a large number of African countries fall within the
lowest bracket is cause for concern. Few direct social
benefits are reaching Africa's children, women and other
vulnerable groups. UNICEF estimates that 9.7 million
infants, or 44 per cent of the eligible population, are still in
need of vaccination. More than 40 million children, mostly
girls between the ages of 6 and 11, are not attending school,
and 43.5 per cent of the adult population is illiterate. 3/ Less
than half of the population has access to safe water and
adequate sanitation; and the impact of the HIV/AIDS
pandemic on development has already been in part
responsible for the decline in HDI values in eight countries.

73.  Having noted slow progress in the field of human
development, the mid-term review made the following
recommendations to African countries: endeavour to
increase resource allocations in the priority areas of basic
education, primary health care, enhancing scientific and
technical capacities, and creating productive employment
and income opportunities; intensify the struggle against
malaria, and combat the effects of HIV/AIDS and
implement effective responses to the pandemic; integrate
population policies into national development programmes
and ensure the availability and promotion of reproductive
health services; ensure the integration of the gender
perspective in policies, and promote the empowerment of
women. It also recommended adopting the 20/20 concept
of mutual commitment for basic social programmes,
providing youth with a secure and healthy future, and
supporting efforts for capacity-building for human

        1.     Education

74.  As regards increasing resource allocations in the
priority areas of basic education, primary health care, and
enhancing scientific and technical capacities, African
Governments have made laudable efforts but have often, as
in the past, been constrained by more pressing needs such
as servicing the heavy debt burden. The increased role of
organizations of civil society -- i.e., non-governmental
organizations -- in most countries of the continent has been
a major factor in the allocation of more resources in the
above priority areas. One example is the Health Care
Providers Programme in Egypt, which was created to
provide better and more sophisticated health-care services
to the under-served segments of the population. The
programme is a good example of partnership between
government, the private sector, and the donor community.

75.  As for the provision of basic education, multilateral
organizations such as the World Bank, UNESCO and
UNICEF are engaged in various programmes to raise
enrolment and improve the quality of primary education in
a selected group of countries with the lowest enrolment
rates. Sector investment programmes (SIPs) in education
are under way or in preparation in seven countries, and work
plans for 15 countries with low enrolment rates at the
primary level are in the final stages of preparation.
Consultations and agreements in the context of the Special
Initiative on Africa have led to support by bilateral donors
for primary education. That support has been critical in
enhancing governmental efforts to place primary education
within the macroeconomic framework. An example of these
efforts is the Poverty Eradication Plan of the Government
of Uganda, in which the Government has pledged to attain
the universal primary education goal by financing, as a first
step, the primary education of four children per household.

76.  Another initiative undertaken by UNESCO to promote
education was a tripartite accord with UNDP and the
International Foundation for Education and Self-help on a
programme of support to educational rehabilitation in
Africa. The accord foresees the construction of primary
schools and vocational training centres in all the countries
of sub-Saharan Africa.

        2.     Health

77.  In response to the need to intensify the struggle
against malaria, UNICEF, in collaboration with
Governments, donor agencies and other partners, has
escalated its effort in malaria prevention and control. At
present, some 25 countries are implementing malaria-related
activities. Additionally, WHO has provided some $20
million to implement the action plan derived from the
Harare Declaration on Malaria Prevention and Control,
which was adopted by the thirty-third summit of OAU, in
1997. The "roll back malaria" initiative presented by WHO
in May 1998 is an intensified campaign against malaria
within the framework of health-sector development.

78.  The recommendation to continue to combat the effects
of HIV/AIDS and to implement effective responses to the
pandemic has been addressed by the United Nations system.
In an effort to promote and support more effective and
complementary cooperation within the system, the joint and
co-sponsored United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS
UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank, was launched on 1 January 1996. 
In it, the highest priority has been accorded
to supporting effective and sustainable multidimensional
country-level responses. The UNDP's regional project for
sub-Saharan Africa has proven successful, and is based on
two main approaches: the HIV and Development Workshop,
and multisectoral programming technical assistance
missions. The project concentrates on the development of
national capacities, and workshops are principally targeted
at senior governmental officials and United Nations
officials. In December 1997, within the framework of the
Tenth International Conference on HIV/AIDS and STDs in
Africa, a symposium on HIV, development and the role of
local government took place in Abidjan, Co^te d'Ivoire. It
allowed mayors and municipal leaders to explore ways in
which they could participate more effectively in the
formulation of multisectoral responses to the epidemic at
the local level. The results of the symposium were a
declaration, the creation of the Alliance of Mayors and
Municipal Leaders on HIV/AIDS in Africa, and the
inclusion of the Alliance on the agenda of the Africities
meeting held in January 1998.

        3.     Population

79.  As regards the need to ensure the availability and
promotion of reproductive health services, African countries
are integrating family planning counselling and services and
safe motherhood initiatives into their primary health-care
programmes. Specific network service delivery is growing,
but access to the services varies greatly among countries.
Successful male participation in reproductive health
services has increased in the region, and religious leaders
have become important allies and are playing a major
advocacy role in the implementation of reproductive health
activities. A series of round-tables on reproductive health
and rights is currently being held, and it is expected that it
will culminate in an international forum in 1999. For its
part, UNFPA is supporting the improvement of the physical
and institutional infrastructure of health facilities. This
involves the construction and renovation of health facilities
and the supply of reproductive equipment, contraceptives
and drugs.

80.  Since the mid-term review, much work has been done
in regard to the need to integrate population policies into
national development programmes. Twenty-one countries
have adopted an official national population policy and are
now concentrating on plans of action to implement the
policies. From 1996 to date, eight countries have formulated
and approved comprehensive national population policies
and put in place institutional structures for their
implementation. More than 17 countries are in the process
of formulating/reviewing their national population policies
in line with recommendations of the International
Conference on Population and Development and other
relevant international and regional conferences. Two
countries have set up a task force to draft a population
policy statement and a time-bound programme for its

81.  The United Nations system, through UNFPA, has also
been involved in the efforts to integrate population policies
and promote reproductive health. UNFPA has initiated and
supported a series of seminars for parliamentarians. The
goal is to increase awareness of reproductive health, gender
and poverty issues so as to mobilize political support and
increase financial commitment for population and
development programmes by Governments, donors, and the
private sector. Parliamentarian support for these
programmes continues, as is demonstrated by the creation
of the Forum for Arab and African Parliamentarians on
Population and Development and similar organizations.
Additionally, UNFPA collaborated with SADC on the
preparations for the 2001 census initiatives, and with the
OAU on advocacy on population issues and in the
formulation and implementation of population programmes.

        4.     Women in development

82.  There is heightened commitment to gender
mainstreaming in Africa. Most countries show progress in
sustaining their political commitment and continue to
introduce policies and programmes to advance the rights of
women and girls. It should also be noted that as of 1 July
1998, 46 out of 53 African countries have become States
parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women, and all, except one, have
ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

83.  Following the United Nations Conference on
Population and Development and the Fourth World
Conference on Women, considerable efforts are being made
with regard to the recommendation to empower women and
promote their full and equal participation in political,
economic and social development. To that end, the
Asia/Africa Forum for the Economic Empowerment of
Women, organized by the Department of Economic and
Social Affairs, UNDP, and the Governments of Japan and
Thailand, adopted a framework for action. The framework
recommends improved access to credit and finance,
educational and training opportunities, and the building and
strengthening of networks among female entrepreneurs,
non-governmental organizations, relevant governmental
organizations and international organizations.

84.  Further evidence of increased awareness of and
support for the advancement of women is demonstrated in
the endorsement by OAU member States of the Beijing
Platform for Action in June 1996 and by the theme of the
ECA's international conference, entitled "African women
and economic development: investing in our future", held
in May 1998, in Addis Ababa. The conference's
recommendations included integrating gender concerns into
national budgetary procedures; promoting and protecting
women's access to and ownership of land; promoting
gender-sensitive credit schemes; facilitating women's access
to markets and regional trade, and building their
entrepreneurial capacities; and mobilizing resources for the
setting-up of community social service and insurance
programmes to facilitate women's access to basic social
services. Efforts to increase awareness and support for the
advancement of women were also manifested in the
establishment by OAU, in collaboration with ECA, of the
African Women's Committee for Peace and Development,
to ensure women's participation in the peace process, and
in conflict prevention, resolution and management.

85.  African women's multifaceted participation in
development is particularly evident in the informal sector
where the majority of women are active. An effort to
increase their economic empowerment must therefore
include support to that sector. Within the framework of the
Special Initiative on Africa, an international task force
formulated and adopted a special programme of support to
the informal sector in Africa, in 1997. The programme
includes policy and operational elements for creating an
enabling environment, building and strengthening
infrastructure support and institutional capacity and
increasing access to credit and related inputs, technology,
marketing, and linkages with the formal sector. It also
provides for an implementation framework.

        5.     20/20 concept of mutual commitment for basic
               social programmes

86.  With regard to the recommendation to pursue the
20/20 concept of mutual commitment for basic social
programmes, UNICEF, UNDP and other United Nations
agencies have undertaken a number of activities. In 1996,
a conference hosted by the Governments of Norway and the
Netherlands led to the Oslo Consensus, which agreed on the
elements of an international definition of basic social
services and emphasized the need for better monitoring and
analysis of public spending on basic social services. Since
then, 20/20 studies have been completed in three African
countries (Niger, Namibia, and South Africa) and are near
completion in eight additional countries (Burkina Faso,
Cameroon, Co^te d'Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, United
Republic of Tanzania and Zambia). Two regional
workshops, one for west and central Africa and the other for
eastern and southern Africa, on issues relating to the
practical implementation of the 20/20 initiative, creating an
intergovernmental network of experts, and sustaining
governmental commitment to the initiative, were held in
1997 and 1998. Representatives from 21 African
Governments attended the workshops.

      III.     Critical issues

        A.     Globalization of the world economy

87.  Globalization offers major economic and social
benefits, the most obvious being that it increases economic
dynamism as market opportunities widen. Globalization
offers access to larger financial savings, a wide range of
goods and services at lower cost, new export markets, and
new technologies. However, globalization also entails
certain disadvantages: it may reduce the policy autonomy
of countries that have liberalized their financial systems as
their vulnerabilities have increased and may cause
Governments to be more cautious. The inherent dangers of
globalization have been vividly revealed in the recent Asian
financial crisis. Generally, globalization tends to intensify
the marginalization of those countries without the capacity
to increase exports or to attract investment rapidly.

88.  In the case of Africa, globalization in the short term
has led to significant marginalization of the continent.
Africa's exports remain narrowly based on primary
commodities, and little progress has been made in
diversifying into non-traditional exports, especially
manufactures. While the benefits accruing to non-OECD
countries from the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade
negotiations are expected to be between $30 billion and $90
billion in 2002, Africa is expected to lose $1.2 billion every
year. Although world trade was expected to grow by 7.1 per
cent in 1997, Africa's exports increased only marginally,
due mainly to price uncertainties and higher interest rates
affecting export financing.

89.  Although Africa had embarked on regional integration
in the 1980s, globalization has, in recent years, brought
about renewed interest in the process, for two main reasons:
Africa's trade accounts for only 2 per cent of world trade;
and if trade is to serve as an engine of economic growth and
socio-economic development, African countries need to
broaden their production base on a complementary, rather
than competitive, basis, improve their efficiency and ensure
that capital inflows are channelled to productive investment.
One way of doing this is to exploit economies of scale,
which is unachievable with the current fragmented market.

90.  The critical issue is whether Africa as a whole can
competitively and profitably be integrated into the global
economy and thus exorcise its deepening marginalization,
without first of all achieving internal economic and
industrial integration. Since international market integration
is proceeding rapidly, Africa will have to open up and
compete if it is to take advantage of the benefits of that
process. In addition to further marginalization, Africa faces
the risks of capital flows drying up or reversing, thereby
precipitating a crisis. 

91.  From the observations above, it could be stated that
globalization makes it imperative for African countries to
step up regional economic integration; intensify the
democratization process, including achieving good
governance and forging partnerships with civil society;
strengthen the financial sector; and reinforce and accelerate
economic liberalization. These are the areas on which the
New Agenda focuses. By vigorously pursuing its effective
implementation, African countries may expect to achieve
their integration into the world economy.

        B.     Enhanced coordination and feedback
               between the global political process and
               the operational levels in the field

92. Even before the adoption of the New Agenda, the
question of coordinating its activities was addressed by the
Committee for Programme and Coordination at its thirtieth
session, in 1990. The Committee requested the Secretary-General, 
in his capacity as Chairman of the Administrative
Committee on Coordination, to prepare a system-wide plan
of action for African economic recovery and development
(SWPA). In the subsequent programme 45 of the medium-term plan 
for 1992 1997, adopted in 1991, CPC decided
that the system-wide plan of action for African economic
recovery and development would form the basis of system-wide 
coordination of the operations of the system in Africa.
The system-wide plan, which was prepared and revised in
1992 and 1994, was replaced by the system-wide Special
Initiative in Africa, launched in March 1996. It is therefore
through the Special Initiative that the coordination of
activities related to the implementation of the New Agenda
is taking place: first, at the system-wide level by the ACC
Steering Committee on Africa and the ACC itself; and
secondly, at the priority area and country levels by the lead
organizations working closely with collaborative agencies.

93.  The difficulty with this process is that the involvement
of recipient countries which assume the ownership of the
national programme on the New Agenda is not clearly
established. For instance, fewer than 10 countries were
identified in the report to the CPC in May 1998
(E/AC.51/1998/7) as having fully embraced the Special
Initiative. There seems to be little feedback between the
global political process and the national set-up responsible
for translating into action the deliberations at the global
level. It could be argued that the United Nations system has
a mandate in this regard and should ensure that the political
process is fed with the reality at the field level. In the case
of the New Agenda, frequent and regular surveys of what
countries are doing with respect to the implementation
would be required as part of the monitoring process but are
not being carried out. Ultimately -- and unlike the outcomes
of major United Nations conferences, including the United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the
Fourth World Conference on Women, and the World
Summit for Social Development, which have specialized
intergovernmental bodies or mechanisms that regularly
bring together at the global level those responsible for
implementation in the field -- the New Agenda is not
provided for. Such a mechanism would have made it
possible for individual Governments, national experts and
civil society to provide direct inputs in planning the
implementation processes, analysing the obstacles and
monitoring actions undertaken at the country level.

        C.     Mobilization of financial resources

94.  The effective mobilization of financial resources
continues to be a critical development issue for the Africa
region. First, the low rate of domestic savings in the region
needs to be substantially increased. Secondly, domestic
resources must be supplemented by additional resource
flows from the international community to contribute to
building the capacity necessary for sustained growth and
sustainable development. It should be recalled in this regard
that the Secretary-General's report to the General Assembly
in 1991 (A/46/324 and Add.1) estimated that a minimum
amount of US$ 30 billion in net official development
assistance (ODA) would be needed in 1992, after which it
would have to increase at an average annual rate of 4 per
cent to achieve a growth rate of at least 6 per cent per
annum as a "desirable objective". Today development
experts claim that the African economy needs to grow at the
much higher rate of 8 10 per cent in order to significantly
reduce the proportion of the population living in poverty.
This would require a much higher level of resource flows,
compared to the estimates in the Secretary-General's report,
covering the decade of the 1990s.

95.  In view of the critical importance attached by Member
States to the issue of resource flows to Africa, a report on
this subject was submitted to the General Assembly at its
forty-eighth session (A/48/336). That report  has been
updated and reissued as an addendum to the present
progress report  entitled "Mobilization of additional
resources for African development: a study on overall
resource flows to Africa" (A/53/390/Add.1).

96.  According to the addendum, between 1993 and 1996,
net aggregate resource flows to Africa have fluctuated
widely, from $22.2 billion in 1992 to a high of $28.2 billion
in 1995 and declining to $20.8 billion in 1996, or by 20 per
cent, compared to 1995. These fluctuations are in marked
contrast to the steady year-by-year increase in net resource
flows to developing countries as a group, from $143.9
billion in 1992 to $300.3 billion in 1997, an increase of
more than 20 per cent annually during that period. Not only
have net resources flows to Africa declined, but Africa's
share in total flows to developing countries has also fallen,
from 15.5 per cent in 1992 to 7.4 per cent in 1996.

97.  A breakdown of aggregate net resource flows by type
of flow shows that ODA flows to Africa, accounting for the
major part of external resource flows, declined from $14.2
billion in 1992 to $12.8 billion in 1996, while private flows
increased from $3.1 billion in 1992 to $6.8 billion in 1996,
with a high of $9.9 billion in 1995. Foreign direct
investment flows to Africa increased from $3 billion in 1992
to $5.5 billion in 1994, and since then have been declining,
reaching $4.5 billion in 1996. Portfolio equity flows,
although quite small, increased between 1992 and 1995
reaching a high of $5 billion in 1995 and declining to $2.3
billion in 1996.

        D.     Effective follow-up, monitoring and
               evaluation arrangements

98.  In 1994, an evaluation of programme 45, which
embodied the New Agenda in the United Nations
medium-term plan of 1992 1997, was performed by the
evaluation unit of the Office of Internal Oversight Services. 
The evaluation helped clarify and strengthen the
administrative arrangements put in place by the Secretariat
to ensure effective follow-up and monitoring of the Agenda.
In 1996, an evaluation of the implementation of the Agenda
by the United Nations system was conducted by the Joint
Inspection Unit. It raised a range of issues, some of which
were dealt with by individual organizations and some taken
up by the mid-term review. Both evaluations were directed
to the United Nations system, while the mid-term review
mainly assessed the efforts undertaken by member States
themselves. They have greatly contributed to the
increasingly effective implementation of the Agenda by all

99.  To keep this pace and maximize the outcome of the
final review and appraisal in 2002, it is critical that the
intergovernmental process of the United Nations keep the
Agenda under constant review. Already the Committee for
Programme and Coordination has been regularly reviewing
progress made in the implementation of the Special
Initiative on Africa. However, it would serve the purpose
of effective follow-up, monitoring and evaluation if the
General Assembly were to consider the implementation of
the New Agenda one more time before the final review and
appraisal. Also, in order to facilitate an in-depth final
review and appraisal, it would be appropriate if an
independent evaluation of the implementation of the Agenda
were carried out.

        E.     Harmonization of current international
               and bilateral initiatives

100.     Since the adoption of the New Agenda in December
1991, many initiatives have been launched on Africa in
efforts to tackle the formidable challenges facing the
continent. African countries themselves have taken the lead
by elaborating and adopting a number of initiatives aimed
at presenting clearly their development priorities and stating
what they can do for themselves and what they require from
their development partners. They have also initiated
programmes and adopted common positions on such issues
as regional and subregional cooperation and integration,
governance and human rights, democracy, peace, security
and stability, debt, and environment, including combating
drought and desertification. The most prominent and recent
of these initiatives are the OAU Mechanism for Conflict
Prevention, Management and Resolution and the Cairo
Agenda for Action: Relaunching Africa's Socio-economic

101.     In support of African efforts, the international
community has taken a wide range of initiatives, some on
peace, security and stability, conflict prevention and
resolution, but mostly on development. They include:

               (a)     International multilateral initiatives among
which are the United Nations system-wide Special Initiative
on Africa, designed as the implementing arm of the New
Agenda; the United Nations Programme of Action for the
Least Developed Countries for the 1990s; commitment 7 of
the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development; the
DAC/OECD Initiative: Shaping the Twenty-first Century;
the Lome' Convention; the World Bank Special Programme
of Assistance for Africa; the IMF Enhanced Structural
Adjustment Facility (ESAF) and Extended Facility; the
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative; the
UNCTAD/WTO Integrated Framework for Least Developed
Countries Trade Development; UNESCO's Audience
Africa; the UNIDO's Alliance for Africa's Industrialization

               (b)     International bilateral initiatives comprising, on
the one hand, initiatives dealing with socio-economic issues,
as in the case of the Japan-led initiative on the Tokyo
International Conference on African Development, the
United States proposal for a  Partnership for Economic
Growth and Opportunity in Africa, the Swedish initiative
Partnership with Africa, and the initiative by the United
Kingdom Eliminating World Poverty: A Challenge for the
Twenty-first Century; on the other hand, initiatives related
to peace and security, including the French Reenforcement
des capacite's africaines de maintien de la paix, the British
African Peacekeeping Initiative and the United States
African Crisis Response Initiative.

102.     All these initiatives cover the range of priorities
stressed in the New Agenda, with some focusing pointedly
on specific issues or sectors within or outside the scope of
the Agenda. They contribute, in varying degrees, to the
achievement of the objectives of the Agenda. For instance,
the Tokyo Conferences were conceived as direct support to
the New Agenda. The World Bank Special Programme, the
IMF ESAF, and the HIPC Initiative deal with key issues of
the New Agenda, including economic reforms,
macroeconomic stability, growth and debt. Some other
initiatives make no reference of the New Agenda and tend
to be carried out too independently.

103.     In view of their overlapping, duplicating, independent
and even criss-crossing character, the above-mentioned
initiatives have had so far limited impact on African
development and the New Agenda. To achieve the best
results, initiatives on Africa should focus on priority areas
determined by African countries themselves, most of which
are stated in the Cairo Agenda for Action and in the
negotiated political compact which is the New Agenda.
Furthermore, initiatives on Africa should set clear
implementation criteria and mechanisms so as to ensure that
they are free from undue conditionalities. Also, they should
build in clear goals and quantifiable targets as well as
performance indicators to enable effective follow-up,
monitoring and evaluation. Finally, initiatives on Africa
should provide room for complementarity, synergy-building
and harmonization, through organized consultations at the
policy and operational levels among the various
development partners.

       IV.     Conclusion

104.     As the above presentation shows, much has been done
by the organizations of the United Nations system during
the period under review to advance the implementation of
the New Agenda. However, several obstacles still stand in
the way to its full implementation which can be overcome
if all parties concerned relaunch their efforts to sustain and
expand the encouraging results so far achieved.

105.     A major undertaking which will have a direct impact
on the implementation of the Agenda is the already cited
report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council on
Africa (A/52/871-S/1998/318). The report deals with the
sources of conflict in Africa, ways to prevent those
conflicts, and how to lay the foundation for durable peace
and economic growth following their resolution. The report
goes far beyond the development concerns of the New
Agenda, highlighting and integrating them in a broader
perspective of building durable peace and promoting
sustainable development. Should the recommendations of
the report on building durable peace and promoting
sustainable development be effectively enacted by all
concerned parties   Member States and various United
Nations and non-United Nations organizations   they would
bring the New Agenda to full fruition or accomplishment.
Following its consideration of the report, the Security
Council adopted resolution 1170 of 28 May 1998 and has
been taking steps to ensure the implementation of the
recommendations falling within the scope of its mandate.
The Economic and Social Council decided at its substantive
session of 1998 to undertake discussions on the
implementation of the recommendations of the report at its
next session, in 1999. The General Assembly is expected
to consider the report at its fifty-third session under a
separate agenda item.


          1/   General Assembly resolution 46/151, annex.

          2/   Resolution 811 (XXXI) of the Economic Commission for

          3/   UNESCO, Statistical Yearbook, 1995 (Paris), table 2.2.


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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
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