United Nations


General Assembly

  8th plenary meeting
                                            1 June 1986

           United Nations Programme of Action for African
            Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990
The General Assembly,

     Recalling its resolution 39/29 of 3 December 1984 and the
Declaration on the Critical Economic Situation in Africa annexed
thereto, as well as its resolution 40/40 of 2 December 1985, in which it
decided to convene a special session to focus, in a comprehensive and
intergrated manner, on the rehabilitation and medium-term and long-term
development problems and challenges facing African countries,

     Welcoming the efforts of African countries towards their economic
recovery and development, as evidenced in Africa's Priority Programme
for Economic Recovery 1986-1990 adopted by the Assembly of Heads of
State and Government of the Organization of African Unity at its
twenty-first ordinary session, held at Addis Ababa from 18 to 20 July
1985, in which the Governments of Africa reaffirmed their primary
responsibility for economic and social development of their
countries, identified areas for priority action and undertook to
mobilize and utilize domestic resources for the achievement of these

     Convinced of the need for concerted action by the international
community in support of the efforts of African Governments to achieve
economic recovery and development,

     Emphasizing that the African development crisis is one that
concerns the international community as a whole and that greater
realization of the rich physical and human potential of the continent
is an integral part of a common strategy to promote the economic and
social advancement of all people,

     Noting with appreciation the strong expression of support and
commitment made by the international community during the thirteenth
special session of the General Assembly,

     1.  Adopts the United Nations Programme of Action for African
Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990 set forth in the annex to
the present resolution;

     2.  Emphasizes the need to intensify economic and technical
co-operation with African countries during and beyond the period of the
Programme of Action;

     3.  Urges all Governments to take effective action for the rapid
and full implementation of the Programme of Action;

     4.  Requests the organs, organizations and bodies of the United
Nations system to participate fully in and support the implementation
of the Programme of Action;

     5.  Calls upon all concerned intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations, in view of their significant
contribution to economic and social development in Africa, to support
and contribute to the implementation of the Programme of Action;

     6.  Decides to conduct a review and appraisal of the
implementation of the Programme of Action at its forty-third session,
in accordance with paragraph 24(a) of the Programme of Action;

     7.  Requests the Secretary General to monitor the process of
implementation of the Programme of Action and to report thereon to the
General Assembly at its forty-second and forty-third sessions, as
outlined in paragraph 24(c) of the Programme of Action.

            United Nations Programme of Action for African
             Economic Recovery and Development 1986-1990


1.  Africa's economic and social crisis has been a cause of grave
concern to Africa and the international community alike. The crisis has
not only jeopardized the development process of the African economies,
but has also threatened the very survival of millions of Africans. The
persistent economic crisis in Africa, exacerbated by drought and
desertification, and the more recent tragic famine and hunger have
strengthened the resolve of the African countries, individually and
collectively, to take immediate and concerted actions to achieve
sustained economic and social development of their countries in the
medium-term and long-term.

2.  The international community fully recognizes the pervasive and
structural economic problems of the African continent. Some of these
lie in the colonial past; some of these flow from the post-independence
era; others are a combination of economic, political and endemic
factors. The vulnerability and the fragile nature of the African
socio-economic structures have not become fully apparent as a
consequence of the dramatic effects of drought. The African Governments
have initiated actions aiming at long-term structural transformation
of their economies which is vital for breaking the vicious cycle of
poverty and underdevelopment and for paving the way for self-reliant
economic development. Notwithstanding past efforts, it is imperative
that the international community intensify its co-operation and
substantially increase its support for the African efforts.

3.  The persistent economic crisis in Africa has been aggravated by a
combination of exogenous and endogenous factors. The endogenous
aggravating factors include deficiencies in institutional and physical
infrastructures, economic strategies and policies that have fallen
short, in some cases, of achieving their objectives, disparities in
urban and rural development and income distribution, insufficient
managerial/administrative capacities, inadequate human resource
development, and lack of financial resources, the demographic factors
and political instability manifested, inter alia, in a large and growing
population of refugees. In addition to these factors, many African
countries have to contend with severely adverse consequences of the
policy of economic destabilization perpetrated by the racist minority
regime in South Africa and its illegal occupation of Namibia. The
serious aggravating exogenous factors include the recent international
economic recession, the decline in commodity prices, adverse terms of
trade, the decline in financial flows, increased protectionism and high
interest rates. The heavy burden of debt and debt-servicing obligations
also constrains Africa's prospects for economic growth.

4.   Urgent, far-reaching and imaginative economic policies are
required to avert further deterioration in the economic conditions in
Africa and to launch the continent on the path of dynamic self-reliant
and self-sustained economic development in a favourable external
environment. One immediate task of such efforts should be to increase
substantially productivity in all sectors, particularly in the central
sectors of food and agriculture. Achieving such a task would be
extremely difficult without the amelioration of the external and
internal factors that have aggravated the structural crisis and without
simultaneously enhanced supportive measures by the international

     5.  Africa has taken the main responsibility for its own
development. It has organized itself to undertake the necessary measures
to overcome the current economic crisis on the basis of Africa's
Priority Programme for Economic Recovery 1986-1990, adopted by the
Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African
Unity at its twenty-first ordinary session, held at Addis Ababa from 18
to 20 July 1985. The Programme aims at identifying areas for priority
action for the rehabilitation and recovery of the African economies and
mobilizing and fully utilizing domestic resources for the achievement of
those priorities. However, given the dimensions of internal and external
problems now facing the continent, it is obvious that in order to
accomplish this complex task Africa must receive the full support of the
international community.

     6.  The African development crisis is not an exclusive African
problem but one that concerns mankind as a whole. Interdependence is
today a living reality.  A stagnant or perpetually economically backward
Africa is not in the interest of the world community. Without durable
and sustained economic development in the world's poor regions, of which
Africa is a notable example, there is a real danger to international
peace and security and an impediment to world economic growth and
development. The international community recognizes the importance of
genuine peace and security, as well as the strengthening of
international co-operation, to African economic development.

     7.  It is consequently essentially urgent to develop and implement
an international strategy to complement the exceptional efforts that the
African countries have themselves initiated to put their economies on
course. In developing such a strategy, it is necessary to take full
cognizance of the special problems and needs, not only those common to
Africa as a whole, but also those of subregions and individual African
countries in order to ensure balances and equitable development. The
international community must respond positively to the African call for
a new era of co-operation based on a spirit of genuine and equal
partnership, which is an essential element for harmonious and mutually
beneficial economic co-operation in an interdependent world. Africa is
convinced that, given the necessary support from the international
community it will be capable, in the not too distant future, of
establishing national, subregional and regional structures which would
ensure self-reliant sustainable economic development.



     8.  The United Nations Programme of Action for African Economic
Recovery and Development 1986-1990, based on mutual commitment and
co-operation, consists of two central elements:

     (a)  The determination and commitment of the African countries to
launch both national and regional programmes of economic development as
reflected in Africa's Priority Programme for Economic Recovery
1986-1990, adopted by the African Heads of State and Government in July

     (b) The response of the international community and its commitment
to support and complement the African development effort;


     9.  The African countries have fully committed themselves to the
implementation of a sharply focused, practical and operational set of
activities, priorities and policies, as elaborated in Africa's Priority
Programme for Economic Recovery 1986-1990. The successful implementation
of the Priority Programme will lay the foundation for durable structural
changes, improve levels of productivity and ensure the rapid recovery of
the African economies while at the same time enhancing long-term
development prospects.

     10.  The implementation of the Priority Programme should contribute
to the realization of the Lagos Plan of Action for the Implementation of
the Monrovia Strategy for the Economic Development of Africa, the
Industrial Development Decade for Africa, proclaimed by the General
Assembly in its resolution 35/66 B of 5 December 1980, the Transport and
Communications Decade in Africa, proclaimed by the Assembly in its
resolution 32/160 of 19 December 1977, and the Harare Declaration on the
food crisis in Africa, adopted on 25 July 1984 by the Thirteenth FAO
Regional Conference for Africa.

     11.  The Priority Programme stipulates the following priorities at
the national, subregional and regional levels:
                                                                        1.  AT

                 (a) Agricultural development

     The Priority Programme lays considerable emphasis on the food and
agricultural sector. The Priority Programme seeks to revitalize the more
dynamic and internally generated forces for growth and development.
Primary focus will be on women farmers who contribute significantly to
agricultural production.

     (i)  Immediate measures to combat food emergencies

     The immediate objective will be to cope with future emergencies and
catastrophes through the following measures:

     - To create and sustain national emergency preparedness:

     - To institute effective early-warning systems;

     - To establish flexible and efficient regional networks of crop protection

     - To establish national food security arrangements

     (ii)  Medium-term measures

     The main objective will be to give a new impetus to agricultural
development in order to achieve increasing levels of productivity and
production through:

     -  Raising substantially the level of investment in agriculture;

     -  Increased food production;

     -  Restoring, protecting and developing arable land and rendering
        it more productive

     -  Establishment of remunerative produce pricing policies,
        establishment and strengthening of incentive schemes,
        eliminating pricing policies that have tended to discourage
        production and providing effective agriculture credit to

     -  Development of livestock and livestock products through the
        utilization of agricultural by-products, improved management,
        and attention to animal diseases;

     -  Development of mechanization and the use of modern farm and
        processing machinery; increased use of fertilizers, improved
        seeds and pesticides;

     -  Improving and expanding the storage capacity, distribution and
        the marketing system;
     -  Development of agricultural research and extension through
        the creation of a network of agronomical research stations and
        extension for the design and diffusion of appropriate
        agricultural technologies;

     -  Placing at the disposal of small farmers necessary inputs for
        increased yields; better utilization and improvement in
        management of water resources and the establishment of low-cost
        irrigation schemes;

     -  Establishment of reafforestation, drought and desertification
        control programmes, including firewood schemes; and improvement
        of agricultural implement maintenance capacity;

     -  Establishment of assistance programmes for small farmers,
        especially women food producers and rural youth;

     -  Improvement of the distribution of agricultural products.

     The above measures should be applied in a suitable combination to
achieve the expected results, taking into account the particular
situation in each country. Other subregional and regional measures are
also envisaged in the Priority Programme to complement national

     The total investment required for the implementation of this
programme is estimated at $US 57.4 billion which is 44.8 per cent of the
total cost of implementing the Priority Programme.

     (b)  Other sectors in support of agriculture

     The success of Africa's effort in achieving the stated objectives
for the development and growth of the agricultural sector will depend on
the parallel development of the following agriculture support sectors:

     (i)  Rehabilitation and development of agro-related industries

     Given the high dependency of Africa on imports of almost all
industrial goods in general and agriculture related goods in particular
and the urgent need to increase Africa's capacity to increase food
production, the following specific measures are to be taken, among

     -  Development of industries for production of agricultural tools
        and equipment, small-scale irrigation equipment and agricultural

     -  Processing of raw materials and intermediate inputs;

     -  Rehabilitation and upgrading of existing plants;

     -  Development of capacity for utilization of renewable sources of
        energy, especially bio-mass and solar energy;

     -  Establishment of engineering capacity for the production of
        spare parts and components;

     -  Provision of training in the above areas and the development of
        local capacity for project design and preparation

     (ii) Development of transport and communications

     In this field the objectives are to improve access to production
     areas, facilitate the development of intra-African trade in
     agriculture, industrial raw materials and other goods and services
     in a complementary manner.

     Action in this area will consist of:

     -  Maintenance and development of feeder, access and service roads,
        small bridges and desert roads;

     -  Identification of obstacles and rehabilitation and maintenance
        of existing modes of transport and communication;

     -  Utilization of labour-intensive techniques in the construction
        and maintenance of transport infrastructure;

     -  Production of spare parts for the overhaul repair and
        maintenance of public vehicles, machinery and equipment;

     -  Participation in the development of multinational and intermodal
        transport networks.

     Africa, in co-operation with the international community, will
intensify its efforts in financing and implementing the Transport and
COmmunications Decade in Africa.

     (iii)  Trade and finance

     In the field of trade the objective is to improve the distribution
channels for domestic trade, by improving market arrangements and
reversing the present consumption pattern in favour of domestically
produced goods through:

     -  Adoption of price incentives for agricultural products;

     -  Improvement of internal distribution channels;

     -  Identification and elimination of obstacles hindering trade

     In the field of financial co-operation the following measures are

     -  Increased utilization of existing clearing arrangements;

     -  Adoption of co-ordinated measures to establish financial markets
        at the national, subregional and regional levels;

     -  Intensification of efforts for the establishment of an African
        Monetary Fund.

     The total cost for the implementation of the measures envisaged
under the other sectors in support of agriculture is estimated at $60.1

     (c)  Drought and desertification

     Although drought and desertification require a long-term approach,
there is need for immediate action by the African countries at national,
subregional and regional levels to implement a comprehensive programme
for drought and desertification and to stem and control the effects of
drought and desertification on both the ecological environment and the
development process.  African Governments are, therefore, committed to
undertaking as soon as possible the following measures:

     -  Massive afforestation and reafforestation;

     -  Better management of water resources, including river basins and

     -  Protection of common eco-systems;

     -  Development of alternative sources of energy to replace wood

     -  Stabilization of sand dunes

     -  Measures to stop soil erosion;

     -  Measures against salination;

     -  Improvement of drainage in irrigated areas;

     -  Integrating measures for the protection of the environment in
        national development programmes and according them high

     -  Full implementation of the Plan of Action to Combat
        Desertification approved by the General Assembly in its
        resolution 32/172 of 19 December 1977.

     The total cost of measures envisaged for the implementation of the
programme to combat drought and desertification is estimated at $3.41

     (d)  Human resources development, planning and utilization

     African Governments fully recognize that central to the successful
implementation of the proposed actions is the efficient development,
planning and utilization of the human resources and the full and
effective participation of the people in the development process. In
this regard, African Governments are adopting the following
comprehensive policies for human resource planning, development and
utilization with a view to integrating them in their overall national
development policies and plans:

     -  Radically changing the educational systems at all levels to
        ensure that the skills, knowledge and attitudes that are
        relevant to Africa's developmental needs are generated;

     -  Intensifying efforts to promote mass literacy and adult learning

     -  Efficiently utilizing manpower resources, including measures to
        reverse the brain drain and ensure the guarantee of human

     -  Reducing the present high level of dependence of most African
        countries on foreign experts to reduce foreign exchange leakage;

     -  Ensuring good working conditions;

     -  Encouraging the role and participation of women and youth,
        particularly those living in the rural areas, in the development

     The total cost of measures envisaged in the human resources sector
is estimated at $7 billion.

     (e)  Policy reforms

     In order to achieve the objectives of the Priority Programme,
African Governments are undertaking a number of major policy measures
while focusing attention on the need for policy reorientation. African
countries are determined to undertake, individually and collectively,
all measures and policy reforms that are necessary for the recovery of
their economies and the revitalization of genuine development,
particularly in the following areas at the national level:

     (i)  Improving management of the economy

     African Governments recognize that genuine efforts must be made to
improve the management of the African economies and to rationalize
public investment policies, particularly since the public sector will
have to continue to play an important role in the development of the
region. Such efforts would require, inter alia, improvement of public
management systems, institutions and practices; improvement of the
performance of public enterprises; reforming the public services to make
them more development oriented services; greater mobilization of
domestic savings; improvement of financial management, including debt
and development aid, fiscal administration and control of public
expenditure with a view to promoting the efficient use of resources and
cutting wasteage and resource misallocation; reduction of foreign
exchange leakages. The positive role of the private sector is also to be
encouraged through well-defined and consistent policies.

     (ii)  Other policy measures

     In accordance with their respective policies and priorities,
African Governments have demonstrated through, among others, appropriate
adjustment measures that have been undertaken when needed. These
measures have involved, inter alia, exchange rate adjustment,
debt-relief arrangements, wage and salary reduction and public
employment freeze. Though the tasks involved have often been difficult
and painful, African countries have recognized the need to bear the
burden and have made the necessary sacrifices to the extent possible. In
the coming years, short-term adjustment measures should give way to the
medium-term and long-term structural transformation. Restructuring
measures will be continued with prudence through appropraite monetary
and fiscal reforms.

     (iii)  Population policy

     Special importance will need to be accorded by each African country
to a population policy that, on the basis of the Kilimanjaro Programme
of Action for African Population and Self-Reliant Development, adopted
by the Second African Population Conference held at Arusha, United
Republic of Tanzania, from 9 to 13 January 1984, will, inter alia,
address issues of high fertility and mortality, rapid urbanization,
rural-urban and rural-rural migration, the problems of children and
youth and the protection of the environment in a manner that would
ensure compatibility between demographic trends, appropriate land
utilization and settlement patterns and the desired pace of economic
growth and development.  African countries should also push for the
attainment, within the shortest possible time, of an agro-food
production growth rate at least equal to the population growth rate.

     (iv)  Participation of the people in development

     Special attention will be accorded to the role played by human
resources.  Policies will need to be pursued to ensure the effective
development and utilization of human resources in all fields and sectors
       - Ensuring the effective participation of the
         people in all dimensions of development
       - Developing indigenous entrepreneurial capabilities,
         both private and public
       - Establishing sound bases for political, economic and social

     In the food and agricultural sector, the focus of attention must be
the peasant farmer with special reference to female farmers who dominate
food production in most countries.


This document has been posted online by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Reproduction and dissemination of the document - in electronic and/or printed format - is encouraged, provided acknowledgement is made of the role of the United Nations in making it available.

Date last posted: 18 December 1999 16:30:10
Comments and suggestions: esa@un.org