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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 22:52 GMT
African leaders push development
By Robert Walker
BBC News, Kigali

Destitute refugees in Angola
Nepad was launched to combat corruption and reform economies
African leaders are gathering in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, to discuss progress on an economic recovery plan.

Known as Nepad, or the New Partnership for Africa's Development, the plan was launched just over two years ago.

Nepad is backed by industrialised nations who promised increased aid in return for improvements in governance.

African leaders at the summit are expected to finalise a process for monitoring each other's progress towards political and economic reform.

At its launch, Nepad was hailed as an African-led initiative offering a new approach to development on the continent.


Central to the plan is the idea that African countries themselves will monitor the progress of reform, rather than international bodies attempting to impose it.

In Kigali, the African heads of state will put the final touches to a peer review mechanism which 16 countries have so far signed up to.

They are expected to agree the timetable and procedures for the first stage of reviews.

Nepad's leaders believe these self-assessments will build confidence of donors and investors.

But the process is voluntary and it will rely on dialogue rather than measures to censure countries which fail to meet the agreed standard.

Critics question whether the new mechanism can bring about reforms in those African countries with the worst record on democracy and human rights.

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