Cablegate: Nigeria: Gon Says Nepad Peer Review Mechanism On

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: 02 ABUJA 1027

1. Summary. A GON official says Heads of State at a March
meeting of the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD) had concluded negotiations on a Memorandum of
Understanding of the African Peer Review Mechanism. The
official said the review would be conducted by independent
experts and focus on ways to promote economic growth and
sustainable development. He also expressed concern that
international donors not require aid recipients to
participate in the mechanism. End Summary.

2. Ambassador Isaac Aluko-Olukun, a GON official seconded to
the Secretariat of NEPAD, told G-8 diplomats in a March 13
briefing that NEPAD Heads of State had concluded negotiations
on a Memorandum of Understanding of the African Peer Review
Mechanism. He said ten countries had signed on: Algeria,
Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique,
Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda.

3. At the briefing, Aluko-Olukun clarified that NEPAD, and
therefore the peer review mechanism, fell under the African
Union umbrella. A draft Memorandum of Understanding
distributed at the briefing said the peer review mechanism's
primary purpose was to ". . . foster the adoption of
policies, standards and practices that lead to political
stability, high economic growth, sustainable development and
accelerated sub-regional and continental economic integration
. . ." The draft memorandum would go into effect when five
African Union member-states have assented.

4. Aluko-Olukun said a special secretariat would be
established to conduct actual peer reviews. The secretariat
would include "expatriate professionals" and other technical
experts. Three reviews would be conducted yearly, meaning
that some countries would not be reviewed for many years. He
said that Nigeria may be one of the first countries reviewed,
but not until after elections. One remaining task, he noted,
was to find a leader for the secretariat who would inspire
confidence in the process and lend it credibility.

5. Aluko-Olukun said there was some opposition to the
original draft memorandum because, which some leaders saw as
"too binding." He said some members were concerned the
memorandum was a legally binding treaty and, as such, would
require legislative or other approval. He said the final
version, which he promised to make available, had met the
concerns of those members who "didn't want to give up
sovereignty." He added that resolution of the concerns
regarding sovereignty would not weaken the review mechanism
because the entire process was voluntary anyway. Aluko-Olukun
continued that the leaders worried that joining the peer
review mechanism would become a condition for future
international development assistance. He said there was
consensus that the mechanism was an African initiative and
should remain independent of international donor funding

6. Aluko-Olukun spoke about cooperation between the G-8 and
NEPAD, noting that initial G-8 support for NEPAD had "set a
good tone." He said that a joint G-8 and NEPAD action plan
could strengthen cooperation in promoting economic, social,
and political reform in Africa. On conflict resolution, he
claimed NEPAD was looking beyond just cooperation on
peacekeeping with G-8 nations and was looking for ways to
prevent conflict in cooperation with G-8 countries.

7. Aluko-Olukun also commented on Poverty Reduction Strategy
Programs (PRSP) being adopted by some African nations. He
asserted that many African leaders were disappointed because
they had agreed to such a program but had not seen any
supportive international development funding as a result.
Aluko-Olukun said NEPAD leaders were also concerned that
often PRSPs did not sufficiently emphasize on trade and
investment policy and that significant G-8 foreign direct
investment rarely resulted from them.

8. On the role of regional sub-groups within NEPAD and the
African Union, Aluko-Olukun said that there was a need for
rationalization: he noted that there were now sixteen
sub-regional organizations, with many countries belonging to
several. Aluko-Olukun said there was no easy way to get
there, but suggested that five regional sub-groups made
sense, to serve as building blocks for the African Union.

9. Comment: Agreement on a Memorandum of Understanding of the
African Peer Review Mechanism is a notable achievement for
NEPAD, but the true test for the system will come when the
secretariat is established and the first review is conducted.

We think it unlikely that Nigeria will volunteer to go first,
and will instead seek postponement until well after
elections, perhaps not until 2005 or later. A more likely
candidate is Uganda, another co-founder of NEPAD. End Comment.

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