United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

18 December 1991


                                                   77th plenary meeting
                                                   18 December 1991
  46/151.  Final review and appraisal of the implementation of the      d
           United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic
           Recovery Development
  The General Assembly,
  Recalling its resolutions S-13/2 of 1 June 1986, the annex to which contains
the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and
Development 1986-1990, 42/163 of 8 December 1987, in which, inter alia, it
decided to establish an Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole for the mid-term review
and appraisal of the Programme of Action, and 43/27 of 18 November 1988 on the
mid- term review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of
  Recalling also Economic and Social Council resolution 1990/75 of 27 July
1990 on the final review and appraisal of the Programme of Action,
  Recalling further its resolution 45/178 A of 19 December 1990 on the final
review and appraisal of the implementation of the Programme of Action,
  Noting that the final review and appraisal of the implementation of the
Programme of Action by the General Assembly has been an occasion for an
in-depth assessment of the actions taken in the implementation of the
Programme of Action and of the measures that are needed to sustain accelerated
growth and development in Africa beyond 1991,
  Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General on the critical economic
situation in Africa: final review and appraisal of the implementation of the
United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and
Development 1986-1990,
  Taking note of the memorandum prepared by the Conference of Ministers of the
Economic Commission for Africa to the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole of the
General Assembly on the final review and appraisal of the implementation of
the United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and
Development 1986-1990,
  Taking note also of Africa's submission on the final review and appraisal of
the implementation of the Programme of Action to the General Assembly at its
forty-sixth session,
  Taking note further of the contribution made by individual Governments,
intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to the work
of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole,
  1.  Takes note of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee of the Whole of the
General Assembly on the final review and appraisal of the implementation of
the Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development
  2.  Adopts the conclusions of the final review and appraisal of the
implementation of the Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and
Development 1986-1990, consisting of the assessment of the implementation of
the Programme of Action and the United Nations New Agenda for the Development
of Africa in the 1990s, as set forth in the annex to the present resolution;
  3.  Requests Governments, organs, organizations and bodies of the United
Nations system and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to
take appropiate measures in order to implement the commitments contained in
the New Agenda;
  4.  Requests the Secretary-General to report to the General Assembly at its
forty-eighth session on the implementation of the New Agenda.
     I.   Assessment of the implementation of the United Nations Programme of
          Action for African Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990
                          A.  PREAMBLE
  1.  The United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and
Development 1986-1990 did not quite become a focal point for economic policy
or for resource mobilization on behalf of Africa.
  2.  Furthermore, the Programme of Action proved to be too optimistic in two
basic senses.  First, the concept of a global compact at the continental level
was difficult to achieve.  Specific arrangements, such as World Bank
consultative groups and United Nations Development Programme round-table
discussions for individual nations, were not always directly related to the
goals and targets of the Programme of Action.  Second, hopes for a favourable
external economic environment for Africa during the period 1986-1990 were not
fulfilled.  Sharp export price falls, real interest rate increases, and
declines in private sector investment and loans all severely limited the
positive effects of efforts made by Africa and its development partners.  The
Programme of Action itself was silent regarding who was to act if unforeseen
exogenous contingencies threw the Programme of Action off course; also, its
review machinery did not clearly address this issue.
  3.  In most African States, it is recognized that revised economic reforms
and good governance are a key to economic development.  It is also accepted
that recovery and renewed development will take longer to achieve than was
hoped and projected in 1986 by Africa, as well as by donor States and
international financial institutions.
  4.  Bilateral cooperating partners have recognized that speedy, low-cost
turn-arounds are the exception, not the rule, or as several have explicitly
noted, the time-frame for economic transformation and for agreed agendas for
action should be seen in terms of decades, not years.  In addition, perception
has come much closer to African warnings of the damage done by the debt
overhang and worsening terms of trade.  Substantial action to overcome these
obstacles to African recovery is now agreed to be urgent.
  5.  The World Bank recognizes that sustained structural adjustment without
rapid return to positive real per capita growth rates is difficult, especially
in a context of broadening participation and political liberalization.  The
World Bank also views increased spending on human investment, infrastructure
and reduction of absolute poverty as a central priority now that structural
adjustment is placed in a ten- to fifteen-year time perspective, gradually
phasing into structural transformation.  These views are also widely shared by
the donor communities and by African Governments.  In general, the results
achieved by those countries that have embarked on structural transformation
have been better than those of countries that have not.
  6.  The reworking of United Nations system programmes in Africa around the
goals of the Programme of Action was real and sustained but, by itself, was by
no means large enough to place those goals at the centre of policy dialogue or
resource mobilization.
  7.  Over the period 1986-1990 there developed broad agreement on the lines
of short- and medium-term policy and on the need for that policy to lay the
foundations for long-term sustainable growth and transformation.  The African
Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programmes for Socio-economic
Recovery and Transformation, adopted by the Conference of Ministers of the
Economic Commission for Africa on 10 April 1989, and the World Bank long-term
perspective study illustrate this in their very broad range of agreement on
goals and instruments.  The remaining divergence, while substantial, is
largely on issues of timing, sequencing, contexts and balance of instruments.
A reduction of the external debt burden of most African States and an enabling
environment would make a valuable contribution to sustained development.  A
consensus needs to develop on how this can be achieved.
  8.  At some point in the 1990s, a legitimate post-apartheid Government will
emerge in South Africa, whose changing role in the economy of Africa will be
significant but cannot yet be defined.  Because a high rate of absolute
poverty and very low human investment in a majority of its people will be the
heritage of apartheid, post-apartheid South Africa may require external
resource inflows, including official development assistance, although these
inflows cannot yet be quantified and are not included in the total targets
presented for Africa and its development partners in the 1990s.
  9.  Many of the African States have made progress in meeting their policy
restructuring and resource reallocation commitments.  However, none of the
goals of the Programme of Action were fully realized.  Targets for growth,
food security, human investment and debt reduction were missed, so declines
rather than hoped-for increases have been recorded by many States and for
Africa as a whole.
  10.  One of the principal causes of this decline was that only two thirds of
the countries pursued sustained economic reform.  Those that did received
increased donor assistance and achieved modest gains in per capita gross
domestic product, agricultural production and exports.  Other countries
continued to decline in these indices, causing negative performance for Africa
as a whole.
  11.  The reasons for this record of non-success are clear.  The bilateral
and multilateral achievements with respect to net real resource transfers and
debt burden reduction were below expectations.  A number of African States did
not, in fact, fully achieve policy and resource allocation adjustment and
transformation. Africa suffered from a serious fall in commodity earnings.
War and certain exogenous events, such as drought and collapse in the terms of
trade, imposed devastating costs.  Another reason for this record of
non-success may have been inadequate United Nations and Government debate or
dialogue on the experience gained in the implementation of the Programme of
  12.  However, the Programme of Action was far from being a failure.  It
assisted in focusing the attention of African and other Governments on the
basic economic, human and governance problems of Africa.  By doing so, it did
achieve policy and efficiency gains and averted a more severe decline in net
resource inflows.  As a result, the economic decline afflicting Africa from
1981 to 1985 was slowed and, in many countries, halted.  Furthermore, the
process of African policy restructuring and its interaction with the analyses
of external partners have led to substantial lessons of experience for all
  13.  Taken as a whole, the performance of the African economies from 1986 to
1990, the period of the Programme of Action, was not satisfactory, with
overall growth averaging less than 2.5 per cent a year.  The economic
performance of the African economy was, it is true, somewhat better than
during the period 1980-1985.  But output, in per capita terms, continued to
  14.  The decrease in overall performance was in part accounted for by the
unsatisfactory export situation.  While 1986-1990 export volume increased an
average of 10 per cent a year above that of the period 1981-1985, representing
an annual growth of almost 4 per cent, earnings from exports were 18 per cent
lower, which represented an annual average decline of 6 per cent.  Trade gains
fell below expectations by an amount exceeding 50 billion United States
dollars.  Furthermore, in many key commodity areas, Africa suffered a decline
in market share.
  15.  The benefits of reform in the vital agricultural sector, though often
positive, were limited in certain countries by such factors as natural
disasters, war or civil strife and a fall in prices from export crops.  The
human condition of many millions of Africans continued to worsen.  Absolute
poverty rose in Africa.  If present trends hold, Africa risks becoming, by
1995, in terms of human deprivation, the most afflicted region in the world.
African Governments made efforts to improve public services.  Some progress
was recorded in certain areas, as was indicated by the United Nations
Development Programme in the Human Development Report 1990, but taken as a
whole, the results were insufficient.
  16.  It would, however, be wrong to paint a totally sombre picture of the
economic results of the 1986-1990 period.  Growth of output in the majority of
African economies had begun, by 1989-1990, to equal or exceed population
growth.  Important policy reforms had been undertaken and priority given to
the restoration of infrastructure and human investment together with measures
to encourage enterprise.  The quantitative decline of export volumes that was
typical of the 1970s and the deterioration of basic public services that
characterized the 1981-1985 period have, in a majority of cases, been halted
or partially reversed.  Requirements for good governance, human investment, an
enabling environment and the reduction of absolute poverty are being
articulated and brought into operation.  A sounder basis for greater
production and for improvement in the human condition now exist in many
African countries.  Recent developments in the world political situation and
on the continent give hope for drastic cuts in military expenditures.  There
is broad agreement everywhere that people are both the objective of and the
most important means to the development and improvement of their living
standards.  The convictions of Africans on this are reflected in the Khartoum
Declaration: Towards A Human-focused Approach to Socio-economic Recovery and
Development, adopted in 1988, the African Alternative Framework to Structural
Adjustment Programmes for Socio-economic Recovery and Transformation, adopted
in 1989, and the African Charter for Popular Participation in Development and
Transformation, adopted in 1990.
  Policy reforms
  17.  A majority of the African countries initiated and carried out
substantial policy transformations during the 1986-1990 period.  These have
emphasized rationalization and liberalization of prices, especially exchange
rates, food price structures and interest rates; prioritization of public
expenditure towards human investment and infrastructure; and, where
practicable, reduction of military expenditure.  These policy reforms also aim
at more efficient public sector management, enabling measures to facilitate
enterprise and production and the broadening of access to economic and
political participation (especially for women and poor rural households), and
they include measures to reduce poverty, especially absolute poverty.
  18.  These policy steps were considered necessary, though generally risky
and costly in social and political terms.  For most countries undertaking and
persisting in them, they have halted declines in per capita production.
However, when such policies require extended periods of constant or lowered
consumption, they face rising domestic opposition.  Their continuation is
frequently dependent on being able to show enhanced positive results.  In a
minority of cases, policy transformations have not been attempted or have been
abandoned in the face of high initial costs and apparently low positive
results in the Programme of Action period.  While understandable, in most
cases this has led directly to continued decline of the economies and of the
conditions of the peoples concerned, while also hampering increased
participation and improved governance.  While the efforts of the African
Governments are key to economic progress, the donor community has a role in
supporting these efforts.
  Agricultural development and other sectors in support of agriculture
  19.  In general, agricultural policies and resource allocations have been
prioritized.  These have included price and marketing structure reforms,
restoration of infrastructure, redesigned research and extension services.
They also include programmes to increase the resilience of small farmers to
adverse economic circumstances.  The results have been positive but inadequate
- a 4 per cent annual agricultural output growth rate is widely recognized as
essential (for example, in the World Bank long-term perspective study) but
only 2 per cent has been attained to date.  The southern African subregion has
reached a 3 per cent trend equal to population growth.  Constraints include
inadequate technical knowledge; inefficient research and extension; falling
world prices; inadequate access to inputs, despite services prioritization to
domestic capacity rehabilitation; limited effective access of the poor,
especially access by women farmers to agriculture services and markets;
inadequate financial resource availability at both national and farm-household
level; and high-cost public and private sector marketing systems.
  Drought, desertification and environment
  20.  Drought, desertification and environmental degradation have received
attention based on fuller recognition that Africa is more threatened by them
than is any other region.  However, improved water conservation and use,
afforestation and family forestry as part of mixed farming, crop pattern
alteration to lower vulnerability to drought, and other measures have had
limited results.  This is partly a factor of limited knowledge and experience
and the short time since priorities were changed; but it also reflects the
lack of resources to implement policies and the impact of pressure to export.
Often, the result has been further soil impoverishment.
  Human resources and human conditions
  21.  The rise in the proportion of people in absolute poverty to 30 per cent
in Africa and 60 per cent in the worst afflicted countries demonstrates the
impact of war, drought and resource shortages.  In countries ravaged by war
and natural calamities, in spite of efforts by the donor community to provide
improved early warning systems and increased emergency assistance, the
scarcity of food supplies led to famine.  In some countries, emergency relief
assistance could not be provided quickly enough to avert the displacement of
large numbers of persons and prevent casualties.  Food for work (paid in cash
or food) programmes have been devised and implemented at the micro-level, as
well as more generally in some States, to help rehabilitate drought, flood and
war victims.
  22.  Priority attention to human development - both in resource allocations
and in restructuring to improve efficiency and access to basic services - has
been a central theme in over half the African States.  It has halted the rapid
decline in access to basic services and the deterioration in their quality
that occurred during the period 1981-1985, but has achieved clear improvements
in only a minority of cases.  In many cases, efficiency-improving policies
were only partially employed, partly because they required resources that were
not available.
  23.  Human-centred concerns, such as those expressed during the United
Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace and in the adoption
of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, have deeply influenced African
thinking.  Appropriate programmes are now emerging and policy rethinking is
more generally in process.  However, the results to date are limited, partly
because of brief experience and partly because integrating new elements into
mainline programmes - especially in agriculture, education and employment -
has proven difficult.  In the context of limited increase in resources for all
programmes, difficult choices must be made in allocating available resources,
often resulting in cuts in existing activities.  Only in health services has
reorientation to support the needs of women and children made sustained
progress over the 1986-1990 period, notably in mother and child health care
and immunization.
  24.  Population policies have been adopted by most African Governments.
However, it is unclear how much impact they have had to date.  The link
between the provision of educational and technical services, on the one hand,
and other key elements such as reduced infant mortality, enhanced food
security, reduced malnutrition and enhanced female education, on the other
hand, remains to be adequately worked out in a majority of cases.  In cases
where the link has been articulated and applied, there is evidence of a
rapidly increasing use of services and declining family size.  It is generally
realized in Africa and by Africa's development partners that Africa's rapid
rate of population growth, averaging over 3 per cent per year, slows the rate
of Africa's recovery and development, thus constituting a development issue to
be dealt with seriously.  During the period of the Programme of Action, there
has been a clear downward trend in per capita health spending in real dollar
terms, despite gains made in such areas as mother and child health care and
immunization.  Some diseases made a resurgence in Africa in the 1980s as
health expenditures declined, with roughly two out of every three Africans now
suffering from one or more debilitating diseases.  The problem of declining
health services is exacerbated by the continuing phenomenon of the "brain
drain" with respect to trained personnel in the health field.
  25.  Over the 1986-1990 period, war imposed heavy human as well as financial
costs on Africa (45 billion dollars in southern Africa alone, according to
United Nations estimates).  As of 1990, efforts to achieve peace have made
substantial progress in southern Africa and other parts of the continent.  The
consolidation of survival policies and infrastructural safeguards is crucial
in those areas, as is their more effective pursuit in the remaining
war-ravaged States.
  Trade and commodities
  26.  African States have given priority to policies to restore export
growth.  The quantitative rise in export growth to 4 per cent indicates
considerable success.  Unfortunately, declines in terms of trade have more
than cancelled out this achievement in real export-value terms.  African
States have sought to act on the Programme of Action priority focus of
commodity market improvement.  Market prices for basic commodities, in
general, continued to fall.  Compensation or stabilization schemes were unable
to compensate for declining commodity revenues during the period of the
Programme of Action.  African Governments were unable to move rapidly towards
structural diversification and transformation of export patterns.
Furthermore, Africa has in many cases lost market share in the face of new
sources of competition, although some countries have adopted policies to
regain it.
  Debt service
  27.  African States have developed a common set of guidelines for agreed
debt and debt-service reduction (African Common Position on Africa's External
Debt Crisis (1987)), which was updated in 1989 and discussed at the
forty-fourth session of the General Assembly, and they have devoted on average
30 per cent of export earnings to debt service.  The 30 per cent of export
earnings paid out covered only about 60 per cent of the debt service payable.
The balance was largely rescheduled in ways that stretched out the repayments
of the obligations without reducing them or it was added onto rising arrears
balances.  The Programme of Action goal of resolving the African external debt
crisis remains largely unmet.  External debt (largely from increased arrears,
rescheduled amounts and accrued interest) rose 35 per cent between 1986 and
1990.  Although many donor countries cancelled or rescheduled debt on
concessional terms, both before and during the Programme of Action period -
for example, at the Third Francophone Conference of Heads of State and
Government, held at Dakar in May 1989 - in accordance, inter alia, with
relevant United Nations resolutions, a substantial portion of that external
debt remains extremely difficult to service.  The debt burden complicated
Africa's task of increasing investment and rational planning with respect to
fiscal and external accounts.  A number of creditor countries and institutions
have recently put forward proposals involving greater debt and debt-service
reduction for low-income countries, many of which are located in Africa.
Since 1985, the Paris Club has eased the terms on which official bilateral
debt is rescheduled for the severely indebted low-income countries, many of
which are located in Africa.  In June 1988, at the Toronto Economic Summit,
the group of seven major industrialized countries reached an agreement
consisting of options to be chosen by creditor countries, which include
partial write-offs, longer repayment periods and concessional interest rates.
At the Second United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, in
September 1990, there was a call for the cancellation of all official
bilateral debt owed by least developed countries and other low-income
countries that faced severe debt problems and were implementing sound economic
policies in the context of International Monetary Fund programmes.  Another
proposal was made to modify the Toronto terms of rescheduling by Paris Club
creditors in a number of ways.  In 1991, the group of seven major
industrialized countries agreed on the need for additional debt-relief
measures, going well beyond the relief already granted under the Toronto
terms.  The Trinidad and Tobago terms, proposed in September 1990, as well as
other proposals, are now under consideration in the Paris Club.  An early
agreement on these proposals, combined with appropriate adjustment actions by
the African countries themselves, would make a genuine contribution to
improving the economic prospects of the countries concerned.  More recently,
bolder initiatives, such as the recent debt-reduction agreements, have aroused
high expectations among debt-distressed countries in Africa.  The Personal
Representative of the Secretary-General on debt proposed the cancellation of
90 per cent of the bilateral debt service of poor countries and the conversion
of the remainder to highly concessional long-term loans.  He also proposed
that Toronto-type debt relief should be extended to African middle-income
countries, as well as more concessional development financing.
  Social and political stability
  28.  Problems associated with governance, accountability and the
international economic environment have constrained African growth and
development.  These problems have hampered domestic savings and private
investment flows, which are critical for increased productivity and growth.
There is recognition within Africa of the link between improved governance and
accountability, a favourable international economic environment and successful
long-term development.  There has been progress in improving participation and
stability in Africa during the period of the Programme of Action.  The number
of States severely affected by war has been reduced.  The freedom of people to
pursue their daily lives and livelihood without fear of violence or arbitrary
intervention by any person or institution has risen.  Participation and human
rights have been endorsed in the African Charter for Popular Participation in
Development and Transformation.  Progress in policies and practices to promote
participation and make rights more secure is visible in many States.  The
enjoyment of human rights under the rule of law is becoming more strongly
  Implementation at the regional and subregional levels
  29.  Subregional and regional implementation have received significant
attention, especially in eastern and southern Africa.  The small size of
virtually all African States means that many common goals can be pursued more
efficiently in common, or on a coordinated basis, than separately.  The
Preferential Trade Area for Eastern and Southern African States has made
significant progress towards enabling trade expansion via tariff preference,
commercial clearing facilitation and documentary plus procedural
harmonization.  The Southern African Development Coordination Conference has
coordinated transport and communications rehabilitation and development,
knowledge creation (especially in agriculture and food security), production
expansion and the mobilization of domestic and external finance for regionally
identified priority projects, with substantial positive results.  Other
groupings - the Economic Community of West African States, the Arab Maghreb
Union, the Union of Central African States and the Economic Community of
Central African States - have had important results.  The Organization of
African Unity has increased its economic policy analysis and coordination
capacity, leading to the African Common Position on Africa's External Debt
Crisis (1987) and to the adoption on 3 June 1991 at Abuja, Nigeria, of the
Treaty establishing the African Economic Community.
  Governments of resource-transferring countries
  Resource flows
  30.  Donor Governments understood the need in the Programme of Action for
complementary resources to support the reforms and transformations to which
the African States have committed themselves.  A significant number have
sought to act accordingly and have maintained or increased real resource
transfers via official development assistance since 1985, despite, in several
cases, significant budgetary constraints of their own.  They have remained
committed to Africa in the context of new needs in western Asia, as well as in
central and eastern Europe.  However, despite the fact that sub-Saharan
African countries received, on a per capita basis, significantly larger
official development assistance than other low- and middle-income countries
and despite a 50 per cent current price increase in official development
assistance to sub-Saharan Africa, the effects of this assistance have not met
  31.  Bilateral official development assistance, broadly defined, rose in
current prices from 10.6 to 16.8 billion dollars.  However, in constant 1986
prices, the change was from 13.1 to 13.9 billion dollars, only marginally over
1 per cent per year.  Meanwhile, net export credits fell 50 per cent even in
current terms, from over 2 billion dollars in 1985 to 1 billion dollars in
1990.  Net private flows other than from non-governmental organizations fell
from 1.8 billion dollars to 1.4 billion dollars in current prices.
Non-governmental organization flows rose in current terms from 1 billion to
1.6 billion dollars, or about 1 per cent per year in constant price terms.
  Trade and commodities
  32.  Action to enhance African market access and diversification of exports
and to reduce instability and catastrophic falls in commodity prices, as well
as to provide compensatory finance for declines, was featured prominently in
the Programme of Action.  Protectionist barriers persist.  African economies
still depend on commodity exports, and diversification represents one of the
highest priorities.  The Stabex and Sysmin systems and the Swiss Compensatory
Financing Programme already exist.  Various constraints, including
conditionality and interest rates, restrict access to International Monetary
Fund compensatory facilities.  After having reached a peak in the 1970s,
commodity prices have collapsed to unprecedentedly low levels.  Although
exports grew in volume by 10 per cent during the 1986-1990 period over the
1981-1985 period, the share of African exports in world trade was dropping
dramatically during the 1986-1990 period.
  Debt obligations
  33.  Debt discussion has continued, and in the past two years creditor
country positions have altered significantly.  In order to strengthen efforts
to relieve the debt burden, creditor countries have presented a number of
proposals for further debt alleviation.  The proposed Trinidad and Tobago
terms would provide for a 50 per cent debt-burden reduction - by write-offs,
interest-rate cuts or repayment spread-out - on official debt, including
guaranteed export credits for low-income debt-distressed countries pursuing
serious policy reforms and transformations.  Recent debt-reduction agreements
take similar approaches to debt-distressed middle- and low-income countries.
Some donor countries have proposed cuts of up to 80 per cent for the most
severely debt-distressed low- income sub-Saharan African economies.  The
Trinidad and Tobago terms envisage similar cuts in commercial external debt,
with the present secondary market price (usually under 25 per cent of face
value for debt-distressed countries and under 10 per cent for several African
ones) as the starting point.  Some buy-ups, by individual donors or under
World Bank auspices, have taken place.
  34.  These shifts have been too recent to have a major impact to date.
However, they do augur well for the 1990s.  About 3 per cent of Africa's debt
burden was cancelled or rescheduled at concessional interest rates over the
1986-1990 period.  Because this was largely on concessional loans, debt
service due was reduced by under 2 per cent and debt service actually being
paid was reduced by only 1 per cent.  Other rescheduling did not reduce the
total burden of payment (indeed by lengthening the period over which interest
was payable, the rescheduling often raised it) but simply shifted it forward,
providing some relief from arrears build-up for a year or two at a time.
  Technical and other external assistance
  35.  Technical assistance was approximately 25 per cent of official
development assistance throughout the period.  Problems remained, such as
inadequate recipient participation in the selection of experts and the
accountability of technical assistance personnel to national institutions and
in the decision-making processes in Africa.  The enhanced number of donor-paid
and other technical-assistance personnel and the increased hiring of African
nationals for such posts did increase short-term capability but at the price
of fragmenting national policy formulation and implementation and of
threatening longer-term African institutional and public service
capacity-building.  More positively, joint ventures with African training
institutions and the creation, by the African Development Bank, the United
Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, of the African Capacity
Building Foundation were encouraging developments.
  United Nations system
  36.  The United Nations system - including the World Bank and the
International Monetary Fund - sought to influence and to support African
efforts to regain development through structural adjustment and transformation
of policies and resource allocations.  Multilateral official development
finance rose from 5.3 billion dollars in 1985 to 8.5 billion dollars in 1990
or from 5.8 billion dollars to 6.5 billion dollars in 1986 constant prices.
  37.  A substantial portion of the increase was centred on the World Bank,
whose lending increased from an overall average of about 1.8 billion dollars
during the 1981-1985 fiscal period to around 3 billion dollars during the
1986-1991 fiscal period.  With respect to International Development
Association replenishments eight and nine, sub-Saharan Africa's share of a
sustained constant total was raised from 33 per cent to 50 per cent.  In
addition, the World Bank spearheaded a Special Programme of Assistance for
Africa to mobilize and coordinate bilateral funds, which provided 18 billion
dollars in adjustment assistance and debt relief to twenty-three eligible
African countries between 1988 and 1990.  The World Bank also helped fund the
African Capacity Building Foundation to assist in developing the central
economic analysis and management units in African Governments.
  38.  The International Monetary Fund reduced net drawings by African States
by 2 billion dollars during the 1985-1990 period.  While 8-9 per cent
short-term drawings were unsuitable for African requirements, the Structural
Adjustment Facility and its extended version, which are long-term low-interest
facilities, remain less than half-utilized and did not fully offset reduction
in standard terms drawings.
  39.  Other United Nations agencies raised disbursements on behalf of Africa
to about 1.5 billion dollars and to 50 per cent of all resources provided
globally, in particular through special programmes for African countries
affected by drought and desertification.  While their programmes were focused
mainly on and tested against the Programme of Action goals, they were limited
in constant- price terms.  This limitation flowed from the financial
stringency confronting most United Nations agencies, and the United Nations
Development Programme in particular, during the period 1986-1990.
  South-South cooperation
  40.  Global South-South cooperation with Africa was enhanced during the
1986-1990 period.  The focus was primarily on southern African economic and
human survival in the face of destabilization.  The Action for Resisting
Invasion, Colonialism and Apartheid Fund established by the Movement of
Non-Aligned Countries raised and disbursed not insignificant resources in this
respect.  Bilaterally, several South economies provided substantial technical
and financial support to Africa.
  Non-governmental organizations
  41.  Non-governmental organizations, as noted, increased resource transfers
to Africa.  In some cases these transfers assisted the strengthening of
African non-governmental organizations and worked in partnership with or
through them.  In the North, the non-governmental organizations were among the
most effective publicists and resource mobilizers for Africa in general and
the Programme of Action in particular.  The International Conference on
Popular Participation in the Recovery and Development Process in Africa, held
at Arusha in February 1990, marked the recognition by both African and
cooperating States that African non- governmental organizations and similar
groupings had a crucial role in transforming human-centred development and
good governance from goals into realities.
  Structural adjustment programmes
  42.  Structural adjustment describes a set of actions by African Governments
responding to their perceptions of the policy requirements needed to restore
economic balance and to mobilize external resources for recovery and
structural transformation.  Likewise, structural adjustment programmes
incorporated the views of the World Bank and bilateral resource donors of the
macroeconomic policy weaknesses that hampered effective response to economic
shocks in many African States.
  43.  Prior to 1985, structural adjustment programmes, as the World Bank
acknowledged in the long-term perspective study, were often too short term in
approach and, as a result, depended too heavily on demand reduction. Since
1985 there has been a shift towards supply expansion, initially underwritten
largely by external resource flows but, subsequently, partly by renewed growth
of domestic output.  Human investment and poverty reduction have emerged as
major themes in structural adjustment and increased effort is being devoted to
integrating them with the other macroeconomic policy goals.
  44.  Structural adjustment programmes, when also oriented towards the
medium- and long-term development needs of the countries that have been
implementing them and when persisted in, have, on average, resulted in output
growth equal to or above population growth and also in significant increases
in external resource inflows.  Equally, most have resulted in a halting of
previous declines in human investment and basic services spending.  But their
record on reduction of inflation, reduction of trade deficits and a reduction
in numbers of people living in absolute poverty is much more uneven and not
yet satisfactory, as the World Bank long-term perspective study notes.  How to
resolve these problems and to ensure that new rounds of African-owned country
programmes achieve both sustainable growth and a substantial improvement in
the human condition is a crucial question for the 1990s, which the African
Governments, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, and
other resource providers are focusing on in national consultative groups,
round-table discussions and other forums.
  II.  United Nations new agenda for the development of Africa in the 1990s
                          A.  PREAMBLE
  1.  The final review and appraisal of the implementation of the United
Nations Programme of Action for African Economic Recovery and Development
1986-1990 offers yet another opportunity for renewing the commitment of the
international community to support Africa's own efforts to achieve self-
sustaining socio-economic growth and development.  It is also an occasion to
refocus world attention on the socio-economic difficulties which continue to
face the African countries. Africa's development is primarily the
responsibility of Africans.  The international community accepts the principle
of shared responsibility and full partnership with Africa and therefore
commits itself to giving full and tangible support to the African efforts.
  2.  The circumstances which led to the adoption of the Programme of Action
are as valid today as they were in 1986.  Assessments made by African
countries themselves or by the Secretary-General and many other organizations
and independent observers point to the fact that Africa's socio-economic
conditions actually worsened overall over the past five years of the Programme
of Action period.
  3.  The current critical economic situation in Africa calls for solidarity
among States Members to act in concert to address the problem.  The
international community renews its efforts to assist Africa, as enunciated
under the Programme of Action and in General Assembly resolution 43/27 of 18
November 1988, in which the Assembly stated, inter alia, that "the African
economic crisis is one that concerns the international community as a whole"
and that "the Programme of Action provides an important framework for
cooperation between Africa and the international community", which needs to be
renewed in the 1990s.
  4.  That is why the international community and the countries of Africa
should renew their commitment to an agenda of cooperation for sustainable
social and economic development of Africa in the 1990s.  The agenda is
specific and clearly focused on goals and targets to be achieved within that
  5.  A desirable objective should be an average real growth rate of at least
6 per cent per annum of gross national product throughout the period of the
New Agenda in order for the continent to achieve sustained and sustainable
economic growth and equitable development, increase income and eradicate
  6.  The New Agenda has as its priority objectives the accelerated
transformation, integration, diversification and growth of the African
economies, in order to strengthen them within the world economy, reduce their
vulnerability to external shocks and increase their dynamism, internalize the
process of development and enhance self-reliance.
  7.  The New Agenda also accords special attention to human development and
increased productive employment, and promotes rapid progress towards the
achievement of human-oriented goals by the year 2000 in the areas of life
expectancy, integration of women in development, child and maternal mortality,
nutrition, health, water and sanitation, basic education and shelter.
  8.  Peace is an indispensable prerequisite for development.  The end of the
cold war has opened up opportunites for the peaceful resolution of conflicts
and for the intensification of international cooperation for development,
particularly with Africa.  Peace initiatives by African countries should be
encouraged and pursued in order to bring an end to war, destabilization and
internal conflicts so as to facilitate the creation of optimal conditions for
development.  The international community as a whole should endeavour to
cooperate with and support the efforts of African countries for a rapid
restoration of peace, normalization of life for uprooted populations and
national socio-economic reconstruction.  Resources freed from military
expenditures in all countries can be redirected to socio-economic growth and
  9.  In order to achieve these broad objectives, it is necessary for the
international community to enter into a new and stronger accord with Africa,
which would spell out clearly the firm commitment of the international
community to support and assist Africa in its efforts to implement
successfully its development agenda and to reduce, if not entirely eliminate,
external impediments and obstacles to Africa's accelerated socio-economic
transformation.  This New Agenda reflects a mutuality of commitments and
accountability and is in two parts: what Africa commits itself to do and what
the international community commits itself to do.
                     B. INTERNATIONAL AGENDA
           1.  Africa's responsibility and commitment
  (a)    Achievement of sustained and sustainable growth and development
  10.  Africa is committed to the implementation of policies for the
transformation of the structure of its economies in order to achieve growth
and development on a sustained and sustainable basis.  African countries will
persist with necessary reforms and pursue improvement of domestic economic
management, including effective mobilization and utilization of domestic
  (b)    Promotion of regional and subregional economic cooperation and
  11.  Africa is resolved to pursue with vigour the policy of achieving
effective regional and subregional economic cooperation and integration and is
thus committed to the establishment of the African Economic Community - the
treaty of which was signed by African leaders on 3 June 1991 at Abuja, Nigeria
- and to the effective functioning of its subregional organizations - namely,
the Preferential Trade Area of Eastern and Southern African States, the
Economic Community of West African States, the Arab Maghreb Union and the
Southern African Development Coordination Conference.  Africa believes that
regional and subregional cooperation and integration will bring about
effective transformation of its economies.
  12.  Africa is committed to the promotion of the sectorial integration of
its economies and to ensuring the development and maintenance of reliable
networks of agricultural, physical, industrial and institutional
infrastructures on the continent.  Africa will focus its efforts on the
implementation of programmes for the Second Transport and Communications
Decade in Africa and the Second Industrial Development Decade for Africa.
  (c)    Intensification of the democratization process
  13.  Africa is determined to press ahead with the democratization of
development and the full implementation of the African Charter on Human and
Peoples' Rights, the African Charter for Popular Participation in Development
and Transformation, and the Declaration of the Assembly of Heads of State and
Government of the Organization of African Unity on the Political and Socio-
economic Situation in Africa and the Fundamental Changes Taking Place in the
World, adopted on 11 July 1990.  Africa is convinced that growth and
development on a sustained and sustainable basis can come about only as a
result of the full participation of the people in the development process, and
to this end continues to be committed to pursuing the process of
  (d)    Investment promotion
  14.  Africa is also committed to the creation of an enabling environment
that attracts foreign and domestic direct investment, encourages savings,
induces the return of flight capital and promotes the full participation by
the private sector, including non-governmental organizations, in the growth
and development process.  Farmers - in particular, small farmers -
informal-sector traders and crafts people, and entrepreneurs constitute
important elements in the productive base of the economy.
  (e)    Human dimension
  15.  Africa is equally committed to improving the human rights and the
living standards of its people, including the reduction of poverty.  Africa is
further committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for women at all levels
and giving adequate attention to the needs of children.
  16.  African countries are committed to the intensification of their efforts
in human resource development and capacity-building, especially in science,
technology and management, and to taking measures to arrest and reverse the
brain drain.
  (f)    Environment and development
  17.  Africa is fully committed to the promotion of sustainable development
at all levels of socio-economic activity.  Through the Bamako Convention,
adopted on 30 January 1991 at Bamako, Africa took the decisive step of banning
the import of toxic waste into Africa.  Moreover, the Plan of Action to Combat
Desertification remains a viable framework for cooperation in the field of
desertification.  The international community is called upon to contribute
more effectively to the implementation of the Plan.  The programme of relevant
subregional organizations should continue to receive the full support of
Africa and the international community.  Africa is keenly participating in
international negotiations on climate change, bio-diversity and the
preparatory process of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, to be held in 1992. In all these negotiations, Africa is fully
convinced that the problems of environment and development should be tackled
in an integrated and balanced manner, fully taking into account the "polluter
pays" principle.
  (g)    Population and development
  18.  Africa is committed to the deliberate and systematic integration of
population factors into the development process in order, inter alia, to
contain the tremendous strain and stress that a rapid rate of population
growth puts on development.  To that end, Africa will continue the efforts
initiated in 1984 under the Kilimanjaro Programme of Action for African
Population and Self-Reliant Development, which currently constitutes Africa's
framework for devising and implementing national population policies in all
their interrelated aspects, including a reduction in maternal and child
mortality and provisions for family planning and female education and the
achievement of substantial and sustained increases in the quality of life and
standard of living of the entire population.  In this regard, reference is
also made to the Amsterdam Declaration on a Better Life for Future
Generations, adopted by the International Forum on Population in the
Twenty-first Century, held at Amsterdam from 6 to 9 November 1989.
  (h)    Agriculture, rural development and food security
  19.  Africa is committed to the continued pursuit of policies and strategies
in the agricultural and rural development sectors in order fully to integrate
rural economies into their national contexts and to achieve food security and
strengthen self-reliance in food.  Africa is committed to the improvement of
agricultural policies, the enhancement of agricultural productivity, the
improvement of distribution mechanisms, and the establishment of reliable
market schemes, credit system and adequate storage facilities.  Efforts will
be made to provide food producers - particularly women - with the necessary
  (i)    South-South cooperation
  20.  Africa is determined to intensify South-South cooperation which Africa
is convinced is an indispensable element for the success of the New Agenda for
international cooperation.
  (j)    Role of non-governmental organizations
  21.  The focus of the International Agenda on popular participation, human
resource development and capacity-building calls for an increased role for
non- governmental organizations (African and non-African) in various areas,
including the promotion of indigenous small-scale businesses, especially in
the rural sector, community development projects, training etc.  African
non-governmental organizations should particularly be involved, without any
administrative impediment, in the mobilization and efficient utilization of
domestic resources.
  2.  Responsibility and commitment of the international community
  22.  The international community commits itself to assisting Africa in its
efforts to achieve accelerated growth and human-centred development on a
sustained and sustainable basis.  Such support will cover the areas discussed
  (a)    Solution of Africa's debt problem
  23.  Africa's debt burden constitutes a critical bottleneck constraining the
recovery and development of the continent.  Therefore, a major priority is to
tackle Africa's external debt problem which is a serious threat to the
continent's recovery and long-term development prospects.  In spite of the
implementation of several international initiatives, the  situation has not
significantly improved.  Africa's external debt exceeded 270 billion dollars
in 1990, with the ratio of external debt to gross domestic product and to
exports amounting to over 90 per cent and 334 per cent, respectively.  The
servicing of this debt accounts for over 30 per cent of the continent's
  24.  This situation calls for innovative and bold measures to solve Africa's
debt problems and the intensification of efforts in the context of the
evolving international debt strategy on the part of all concerned.  The
international community, therefore, in support of Africa's economic reform
efforts, undertakes to seek to find durable solutions to the African debt
  25.  At the London Economic Summit in July 1991, the group of seven major
industrialized countries agreed that Africa deserved special attention.
Participants called for additional debt relief measures in favour of the
poorest, most indebted countries, that go well beyond the Toronto terms.  It
called on the Paris Club to continue its discussion on how these measures can
best be implemented promptly.
  26.  Recognizing the magnitude of Africa's debt problem, the measures
envisioned by this New Agenda include:
  (a)  A further cancellation or reduction of official development  assistance
debt and debt service;
  (b)  Additional relief for official bilateral debt or debt service;
  (c)  Encouragement of the write-off of private commercial debt and the use
of such techniques as debt-equity swaps, the use of debt where appropriate for
the establishment of export-oriented joint ventures, debt buy-backs, debt for
environment schemes and debt for poverty alleviation through greater use  of
the appropriate facilities;
  (d)  Serious consideration to continuing to work towards a growth-oriented
solution of the problems of African developing countries with serious debt-
servicing problems, including those whose debt is mainly to official creditors
or to multilateral institutions;
  (e)  Early implementation of the International Monetary Fund quota increase
under the Ninth General Review and the associated Third Amendment to the
Articles of Agreement.
  27.  Additional measures should take into account the need for Africa to
benefit from new financial flows, particularly official development
  28.  The international community should continue to give serious
consideration to the proposal calling for the organization of an international
conference on Africa's external indebtedness.
  (b)    Resource flows
  29.  A critical element of the support from the international community is
the provision of adequate resource flows to Africa.  These resources are
needed to contribute to achieving sustained real growth in gross national
product per capita.  To achieve an average annual growth rate of real gross
national product of at least 6 per cent by African countries over the course
of the 1990s the Secretary-General has estimated that a minimum of 30 billion
dollars in net official development assistance is required in 1992, after
which the real net official development assistance would need to grow at an
average rate of 4 per cent per annum.  The international community undertakes
to pursue its efforts to provide additional resource flows to Africa which
will complement domestic efforts and financial resources, bearing in mind
these targets.  The international community also reaffirms its commitment to
work in order to attain the accepted United Nations targets of devoting 0.7
per cent of gross national product to official development assistance as well
as the agreed targets established at the Second United Nations Conference on
the Least Developed Countries.
  30.  The international community would introduce measures and devise
programmes to encourage direct foreign investment in African countries and
support the policy changes undertaken by African countries to attract foreign
  (c)    Commodities
  31.  Diversification is a strategic short- and long-term solution to the
severe commodity problem in Africa which has impeded its economic recovery and
development.  In order to support effectively efforts to diversify commodity
exports and boost earnings, the international community, particularly the
major trading partners, commit themselves to grant improved market access to
Africa's exports through substantial reduction in or removal of trade
barriers.  To this end, the international community should ensure an early
balanced and successful conclusion of the Uruguay Round.  The international
community commits itself to correct imperfections in commodity markets.
  32.  In the short term, the international community recognizes the
importance of compensatory financing through such schemes as the Compensatory
and Contingency Financing Facility of the International Monetary Fund, Stabex,
Sysmin and the Swiss Compensatory Financing Programme and, where appropriate,
will examine the means of improving the scope and operations of these schemes.
Efforts at international cooperation among producers and consumers of
commodities of particular importance to Africa should be renewed, with a view
to increasing export earnings of Africa from such commodities through
processing and technical assistance.
  (d)    Support for the diversification of the African economies
  33.  Diversification of the African economies provides a major way out of
commodity export dependence and its related problems and contributes to the
achievement of more dynamic and resilient economies.  While such
diversification is primarily the responsibility of African countries, the
international community recognizes that additional resources will be required
to support Africa's diversification programmes, including development of
specific infrastructural and support services and the development of
information networks and related services for diversification programmes and
  34.  The international community notes the proposal that an African
diversification fund should be established to provide an essential focal point
to galvanize the technical assistance that is required and to provide
additional finance for the development and implementation of diversification
programmes and projects.
  35.  A study on the need for and the feasibility of the establishment of a
diversification fund for Africa's commodities should urgently be undertaken by
the Secretary-General for presentation in 1993 to the General Assembly
together with the comments and observations of Member States.  The
international community will continue to support Africa's effort.
  (e)    Trade
  36.  In order to support effectively efforts to diversify Africa's economies
and to boost export earnings, the international community commits itself to a
substantial reduction in or removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers
affecting African exports, particularly of processed, semi-processed and
manufactured products, and to ensure continued preferential arrangements
currently enjoyed by African exports.  To this end, the international
community should ensure an early balanced and successful conclusion of the
Uruguay Round.
  (f)    Support for regional economic integration:  environment, science and
  37.  The international community intends to support African countries in
their efforts to establish the African Economic Community, strengthen the
functioning of the existing subregional intergovernmental organizations and
implement joint programmes and projects.
  38.  Support will also be given to arresting environmental degradation and
to enhancing the scientific and technological capacities of African countries.
  (g)    Role of the United Nations system
  39.  The United Nations system should play a major role in the
implementation of the International Agenda.  First and foremost, the various
United Nations organizations and specialized agencies, in their respective
areas and sectors, should devise specific programmes for Africa which are
consistent with the elements of the Agenda, and devote adequate resources for
their implementation.  In this regard, special consideration should be given
to programmes that are essential in fostering the economic integration of the
African region, such as those related to the Second Industrial Development
Decade for Africa and the Second Transport and Communications Decade in
Africa, as well as other relevant programmes submitted by regional and
subregional organizations.
  40.  The United Nations system should also contribute to ensuring an
efficient follow-up and monitoring of the implementation of the International
Agenda.  Specifically, a continuous assessment of Africa's  performance in the
areas outlined in the Agenda would have a great impact in maintaining the
momentum within and outside Africa and, eventually, for renewed commitments to
the agreed objectives and targets.
  (h)    Role of non-African non-governmental organizations
  41.  Non-African non-governmental organizations should be given every
encouragement to assist in the formulation and implementation of development
assistance projects in the context of the International Agenda.  They should
also assist in promoting non-governmental organizations at the national,
subregional and regional levels in Africa.
  42.  The follow-up, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the
New Agenda will require the full involvement of Governments, organizations and
programmes of the United Nations system as well as the participation of
intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
  43.  To that end the following arrangements for the evaluation, assessment
and monitoring of the New Agenda are adopted:
  (a)  In 1993 the General Assembly will conduct a preliminary  consideration
of the implementation of the New Agenda;
  (b)  In 1995 the Economic and Social Council will devote part of its  high-
level segment to the consideration of the implementation of the New Agenda;
  (c)  In 1996 the General Assembly will conduct a mid-term review of  the
implementation of the New Agenda;
  (d)  In 1998 the Economic and Social Council will devote part of its  high-
level segment to the implementation of the New Agenda;
  (e)  In the year 2000 the General Assembly will conduct the final  review
and assessment of the implementation of the New Agenda.
  44.  For the mid-term review in 1996 and the final review and assessment in
the year 2000, the General Assembly will take the necessary measures,
including, if required, the establishment of an ad hoc committee for the
preparation of these reviews.
  45.  The Secretary-General, taking into account the relevant inputs from
relevant organs, organizations and programmes of the United Nations system and
other competent bodies, will provide an analytical assessment of the
implementation of the New Agenda and make concrete recommendations thereon to
the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, according to the
arrangements outlined in paragraph 43 above.
  46.  The assessment and recommendations of the Organization of African Unity
on the implementation of the New Agenda will also be submitted to the General
Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
  47.  The Secretary-General will ensure appropriate and adequate support for
the follow-up process, including the continuation of the effective public
information activities and mobilization of efforts to raise international
awareness of the economic crisis in Africa.
  48.  The ongoing initiatives aimed at assisting Africa in its development
efforts should be encouraged.  In this regard, consultative groups such as the
Global Coalition for Africa should assist in rallying international support
for the implementation of the New Agenda.  The Global Coalition for Africa may
be invited to attend the meetings of the General Assembly and the Economic and
Social Council devoted to the New Agenda for Africa.
  46/181.International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism
  The General Assembly,
  Guided by the fundamental and universal principles enshrined in the Charter
of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
  Reaffirming in all its terms its resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960,
which contains the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial
Countries and Peoples,
  Recalling its resolution 43/47 of 22 November 1988, by which it declared the
decade beginning in 1990 as the International Decade for the Eradication of
  Having examined the three interim reports of the Secretary-General prepared
in pursuance of its resolution 43/47,
  Bearing in mind the report of the Working Group of the Movement of
Non-Aligned Countries on Decolonization, adopted by the Conference of
Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries, held at Accra from 2
to 7 September 1991,
  Bearing in mind also the important contribution of the United Nations in the
field of decolonization, in particular through the Special Committee on the
Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting
of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples,
  1.  Reaffirms the inalienable right of the peoples of the remaining
Non-Self- Governing Territories to self-determination and independence in
accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Declaration on the
Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and other relevant
United Nations resolutions and decisions;
  2.  Declares that the ultimate goal of the International Decade for the
Eradication of Colonialism is the free exercise of the right to self-
determination by the peoples of each and every remaining Non-Self-Governing
Territory in accordance with resolution 1514 (XV) and all other relevant
resolutions and decisions adopted by the General Assembly;
  3.  Declares that exercise of the right to self-determination should be
carried out freely and without outside pressure, in a form reflecting
authentic interests and aspirations of the peoples of Non-Self-Governing
Territories and with the United Nations playing an appropriate role;
  4.  Adopts the proposals contained in the annex to the report of the
Secretary-General, dated 13 December 1991, to serve as a plan of action for
the International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism;
  5.  Invites Member States, the United Nations system and other governmental
and non-governmental organizations actively to support and participate in the
implementation of the plan of action.