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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 16:01 GMT 17:01 UK
Africa's big plan 'disappointing'
Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade
Wade finds it hard to answer when asked for Nepad's achievements
One of the architects of Africa's home-grown plan for economic development has launched a scathing attack on its achievements.

Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade said a lot of time and money had been spent on conferences, with few results.

The New Plan for Africa's Development (Nepad) was launched in October 2001 in a blaze of publicity.

The idea was that Africa would improve its governance and western donors would chip in with increased aid.

But critics say that the refusal of most African leaders to criticise Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe shows that the "peer review mechanism", which lies at the heart of Nepad, lacks teeth.


African leaders are supposed to monitor each other to ensure they uphold human rights and that elections are free and fair.

Nepad? I've heard about it but I can't remember what it is
South African woman

They initially set a target of $64m in foreign investment each year but nothing like this much has appeared.

Mr Wade was one of the four leaders behind Nepad, along with his counterparts from Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa.

Speaking at a conference to review progress after three years, his comments were in mark contrast to the up-beat speeches of the Nigerian and South African leaders:

"I am disappointed. I have great difficulties explaining what we have achieved when people at home and elsewhere ask me that question," he said, adding that Nepad had become "confused and a little unfocussed."

"We're spending a lot of money and, above all, losing time with repetition and conferences that end and you're not quite sure what they've achieved."

On the streets of South Africa's largest city Johannesburg, few people asked by the BBC's Alastair Leithead knew what Nepad was.

"Something to do with Africa's economy?" ventured one man.

"Nepad? I've heard about it but I can't remember what it is," said a woman.

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