The adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000 accelerated the need for African countries to develop a policy framework to guide fundamental continent-wide socioeconomic development and take ownership of and responsibility for their own development. This led to the launch, in 2001, of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)—a vision of the African Union (AU) designed to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment in Africa, while uplifting the lives of African people, reducing their marginalization and increasing their role in the global community.
However, five years after it was launched, NEPAD is still not well known and many of its objectives have not been fulfilled, making it difficult to for many African countries to attain the MDGs by 2015. Hence, the central challenge is how to make NEPAD fulfil its promise; that is, how to successfully achieve its objectives at the regional, subregional and national levels. This is the key challenge facing African Union, the regional economic communities, member states and development institutions such as ECA.