The primary objective of the United Nations New Agenda for the Development of Africa in the 1990s (UN-NADAF) was the accelerated transformation, integration, diversification and growth of African economies, the reduction of vulnerability to external shocks, enhanced self-reliance and dynamism, and internalization of the process of development. At the 1996 mid-term review of the implementation of UN-NADAF, the General Assembly recognized the advances made by many African countries in economic reform and adjustment, as well as the intensification of the democratization process and the strengthening of civil society. Notwithstanding these efforts, Africa's economic and social problems remain acute. While various initiatives are being undertaken in favour of Africa, many of the commitments made in the context of UN-NADAF by the international community remain to be completed. These commitments concern the reduction of African debt, adequate resource flows, provision of greater market access and assistance in diversification and capacity-building.
The principle that the development of Africa remains the responsibility of African countries supported by global partnership and international cooperation was reiterated at the Second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD II). Development partners are encouraged to support African countries' efforts based upon this principle.
The debt overhang of African countries remains a major obstacle to their development, with debt servicing absorbing a very substantial part of their revenues, crowding out national investment in human and physical infrastructure.