NEPAD is a radically new intervention, spearheaded by African leaders, to address critical challenges facing the continent: poverty, development and Africa's marginalisation internationally.
NEPAD provides unique opportunities for African countries to take full control of their development agenda, to work more closely together, and to cooperate more effectively with international partners.
NEPAD manages a number of programmes and projects in six theme areas. These themes are:
Agriculture and Food Security
To fast-track development, NEPADs Agriculture and Food Security programme focuses on helping African countries improve economic growth through agriculture-led development. Specifically, the NEPAD Agency aims to ensure that smallholder farmers the majority of Africans get better access to markets, finance and technical support, in order to improve their income and get out of poverty.
Climate Change and National Resource Management
NEPAD's Climate Change and Natural Resource Management programme plays a co-ordinating and advocacy role to promote regional and national programmes aimed at counteracting these environmental threats. NEPAD believes that addressing environmental issues is a pre-condition for its other goals of sustainable growth and development.
Regional Integration and Infrastructure
Inter-country trade and regional co-operation are a key part of building a stronger and more sustainable African economy. By encouraging regional co-operation NEPAD aims to assist countries in being better able to trade, share resources and build mutually beneficial infrastructure. NEPAD plays a co-ordinating, advocacy and facilitation role in this respect.
One of NEPAD's primary objectives is to work towards greater economic growth and poverty eradication on the African continent. This is achieved through linking together key areas of human development, including education, science and technology and healthcare.
Economic and Corporate Governance
NEPAD believes that the delivery of high quality programmes and projects to promote Africa's development and regional integration can only be realised in an environment that permits good economic and corporate governance.
African countries are still experiencing enormous difficulties in achieving macroeconomic convergence criteria set by their Regional Economic Communities (RECs). This is in many ways linked to challenges of economic and corporate governance. Among these challenges are targets on inflation, debt-to-GDP ratios, and budget deficit-to-GDP ratios. The NEPAD agency aims to support efforts by member states and RECs to address these issues, all of which contribute in providing a favourable environment for development.
Cross-cutting Issues, including Gender, Capacity Development and ICT.
While NEPAD's work is guided by five core thematic areas there are also a number of cross-cutting issues that are equally important to its work. These include private sector involvement, gender, capacity development and information and communication technologies (ICTs).
Private sector involvement in NEPAD programmes and projects is critical because of the resources it can bring to financing projects and the expertise it offers in delivering on NEPAD's programme objectives.
Capacity development is also a critical issue, and the NEPAD Planning and Co-ordinating Agency (NPCA) will devote considerable attention in the 2010-2013 period.
Gender empowerment is central to NEPAD's work as which aims to enhance the role and rights for women on the continent. NEPAD is working on a holistic approach to gender mainstreaming and women empowerment and integrating these into NEPAD's programmes and processes.
ICTs are another area that affect all of NEPAD's work. Work under ICTs is overseen by NEPAD's e-Africa programme. The vision of the programme is to see Africa as a globally competitive digital society.