Viewing cable 02ABUJA1027

02ABUJA10272002-03-28 17:06:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 ABUJA 001027 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/28/07 
¶1.  (C) Summary: Despite high-level attendance 
(including nine Heads of State), the March 26 NEPAD 
Summit did not produce any dramatic developments; the 
meeting was basically a planning session. The final 
communique was silent on Zimbabwe. However, Summit 
discussions and public statements by key participants 
criticized the West for being more concerned about 
that country than other African states, including 
chronic trouble spots, and for threatening to withhold 
cooperation from NEPAD due to disagreements between 
the West and Africa over how to handle Zimbabwe's 
political crisis. The Summit reviewed draft action 
plans on Political Governance and Economic Governance, 
both with peer review mechanisms.  Draft plans were 
also considered in the critical areas of Agriculture, 
Infrastructure, Capital Flows, and Human Development 
(Health and Education).  The draft plans are not 
scheduled to be finalized until July, which will be 
too late to inform G-8 discussions on Africa during 
the June meeting in Canada. End Summary. 
¶2. (C) During a luncheon hosted by the Canadian High 
Commissioner, Ambassador Jeter got a read-out of the 
Summit from Nigerian officials seconded to the NEPAD 
secretariat: Ambassador Isaac Aluko Alokun, Sola 
Akinabe, and Sunday Dogonyaro. (With Canada hosting 
the G-8, Prime Minister Chretien is scheduled to 
arrive in Abuja next week for talks with Obasanjo and 
other African Heads of State to discuss the 
relationship between NEPAD and the contemplated G-8 
Action Plan for Africa.) 
¶3. (C) Although the turbulence of Zimbabwe's political 
crisis loomed over the conference, the Summit 
communique does not mention the country.  However, 
Zimbabwe was discussed on the margins.  According to 
the Nigerian trio at the luncheon, the discussion on 
Zimbabwe was awkward, at times difficult. Some Heads 
of State were piqued by the attention the West 
focused on Zimbabwe, claiming egregious political 
events in other African states received but a fraction 
of the glare directed at Harare. Angola was often 
cited as an example. The Summiteers thought the 
attention was not due to any objective standard but 
because of the UK's patronage of the country's white 
minority.  Almost everyone criticized the pace of 
Zimbabwean land reform and the UK role in it. 
¶4.  (C) Several leaders argued the inappropriateness 
of raising Zimbabwe at this forum since the Mugabe 
government had not yet joined NEPAD. With few 
exceptions, the Summiteers did not want NEPAD, at such 
an early stage in its development, to enmesh itself in 
this controversy. Here, the participants had a 
procedural out. 
¶5. (C)  As the communique indicates, the document 
creating the African Peer Review Mechanism is a draft 
that needs to be finalized at the next meeting of the 
Peer Review Steering Committee.  This meeting is 
several months away.  Because the peer review 
mechanism is still a work in progress, Summiteers who 
did not want to condemn Harare argued that 
consideration of Zimbabwe was premature and improper 
because there was no agreed mechanism by which to 
conduct the review. During a rather heated exchange 
between the Algerian and Portuguese Ambassadors at a 
March 27 dinner Ambassador Jeter also attended, the 
Algerian expressed consternation at what he termed 
Western attempts to link NEPAD's viability to 
Zimbabwe.  He claimed that resolving political crises 
like Zimbabwe was not the main thrust of NEPAD.  In 
any event, Zimbabwe was not ripe for discussion until 
the peer review mechanism had been adopted. This 
position, he said, would be explained by the African 
leaders at the G-8 Summit.(Comment: The subtext of the 
Nigerian trio and the Algerian envoy's statements was 
that most participants opposed discussion of Zimbabwe 
because they did not want to be seen as succumbing to 
Western pressure. Obasanjo struck this tone in a 
public statement made on the eve of the NEPAD Summit, 
which Ambassador Aluko Alokun said grew out of 
Obasanjo's frustrations at the London Commonwealth 
meeting. In a not so oblique reference to Zimbabwe, 
Obasanjo criticized the West for threatening to 
distance itself from NEPAD because of dissatisfaction 
with the conduct of one single African country. 
Obasanjo claimed this pressure was, in effect, an 
attempt to "take "NEPAD away from Africa." End 
¶6. (C) The NEPAD secretariat officials at the luncheon 
explained that the Heads of State did not view NEPAD 
as a new organization but an initiative under the 
aegis of the OAU/AU. Once the peer review mechanism 
was finalized by NEPAD it would go to the OAU for 
final adoption. Only when adopted by the OAU, would it 
have any binding force.  Currently, the basic outline 
for the review mechanism calls for a technical 
committee in NEPAD to assess members' good governance 
and social development against agreed upon standards. 
Based on these assessments, the technical committee 
will prepare country reports on member-states. 
Actions against misbehaving or non-performing states, 
including sanctions, are to be decided, through a 
political process, at the Head of State level. 
(Comment: The scenario painted by the NEPAD staff 
assumes universal acceptance of the review mechanism. 
The legal status of the mechanism, should any OAU/AU 
member oppose its adoption as an unwarranted 
interference in domestic affairs, is a question that 
may not have been asked or answered at the Summit. 
End Comment.) 
¶7.  (SBU) There was noticeably more West-bashing 
emanating from the conference hall than at the 
previous NEPAD Summit in Abuja last October. 
President Obasanjo set the stage in a March 25 public 
statement.  After meeting with OAU/AU Secretary 
General Amara Essy, Obasanjo chastised Western nations 
for expressing "warm words" but not providing any 
concrete assistance on debt relief.  He vowed that 
NEPAD would be the product of African leadership, not 
the dictates of others. 
¶8.  (C) A discordance, critical of the West, has been 
noticeable in Obasanjo's public statements during the 
past few weeks. Part of this is due to the 
disagreement over Zimbabwe that, at times became an 
emotionally charged issue for Obasanjo.  Also, 
Obasanjo is clearly frustrated that, for all of his 
lobbying and visibility on the world stage, coupled 
with his decision to stake out a basically pro-Western 
foreign policy, he has not landed more tangible 
assistance for Nigeria, particularly on his pet issue 
of debt relief.  Additionally, domestic pressures now 
are escalating as elections approach and the economy 
sputters.  Obasanjo's nature is to blame others when 
the chips do not fall as he hoped.  Nigeria has come 
up short but, in his mind, the responsibility belongs 
to others.  Usually, he blames domestic opponents. 
This time, the confluence of Zimbabwe, the UN 
Monterrey conference, and NEPAD made the creditor 
Western democracies too attractive a collective target 
to ignore. Additionally, the early March suspension of 
a formal IMF-GON program, billed here as Nigeria 
showing the IMF the exit door in order to develop a 
home-grown reform package fits into the anti-West 
¶9.  (C) Obasanjo's outburst might be the result of 
temporary pique due to this convergence of events.  He 
often deviates from script when annoyed and these 
forays sometimes yield regrettable statements. 
However, with political and economic pressures 
mounting around him, it is likely this rhetoric will 
¶10. (C) In addition to the Political Governance action 
plan (Political Peer Review) there is also an Economic 
and Corporate Governance plan and Peer Review 
Mechanism intended to encourage governmental best 
practices in economics and finance in order promote 
private sector growth and investment. Also, to promote 
"fast track" development, the Summit reviewed action 
plans in the following sectors: 
-- Agriculture and Market Access; 
-- Infrastructure (Information and Communication 
Technologies, Water and Sanitation, Transportation and 
--Capital Flows; and 
-- Human Development (Education and Health, 
particularly HIV/AIDS and other communicable 
¶11. (C) The NEPAD Secretariat officials stated that 
the Political Governance draft action plan was more 
developed than the other draft plans but none was 
complete.  They did not expect completion and final 
adoption until July. The next NEPAD Summit will be in 
Dakar in April.  The focus of that meeting will be 
attracting private sector buy-in to the NEPAD process. 
¶12.  (C) The Canadian High Commissioner expressed 
concern that schedule for finalizing the papers would 
make it difficult to hold meaningful discussions 
regarding NEPAD with the G-8 this year.  The G-8 
wanted to roll out its own Plan of Action for Africa 
at the June Summit in Canada. As part of this process, 
the G-8 hoped to meld as much of NEPAD into its 
deliberations as possible.  However, the July date for 
final adoption of the NEPAD action plans will be too 
late to inform G-8 discussions in June. 
¶13.  (U) FYI: the following Heads of State attended 
the conference: 
Abdelaziz Bouteflika  -  Algeria 
Denis Sassou Nguesso  - Republic of the Congo 
Joaquim Alberto Chissano - Mozambique 
Olusegun Obasanjo     - Nigeria 
Paul Kagame           - Rwanda 
Abdoulaye Wade        - Senegal 
Thabo Mbeki           - South Africa 
Meles Zenawi          - Ethiopia 
Anerood Jugnauth      - Mauritius 
In addition, Gabon Vice President Di Ndinge, Egyptian 
Minister for Foreign Relations and International 
Cooperation El-Naga, Malian Foreign Minister Sidibe, 
OAU Assistant Secretary Generals Lawrence Agubuzu and 
Said Djinnit, as well as officials from UNECA, ADB and 
FAO also attended the Summit. 
¶14. (C) There were no major breakthroughs at this 
Summit which, beside the Zimbabwe issue which was not 
a formal agenda item, was more procedural than 
substantive. Clearly our belief that the Summit should 
have made a statement about the Zimbabwean political 
crisis was opposed by many of the Summiteers and it 
may be months before the Governance Peer Review 
Mechanism is in place. In the interim, we should work 
behind the scenes with some of the prime architects 
behind NEPAD so that Zimbabwe is subject to review 
when the time is ripe under the NEPAD schedule.