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Access to modern forms of energy is also vital to better health by improving food hygiene through the pumping of drinking water and better food conservation and preparation. It is less dangerous to use and avoids indoor pollution and associated respiratory disease. It reduces the often very physically exhausting and timeconsuming job of gathering firewood and water from far away. It also improves medical supplies (refrigeration of medicine and vaccines and sterilisation of equipment) and thus meets local health needs.

Since the 1990s, and most notably following the end of the Cold War, the political environment in Africa has begun to change dramatically. This recent period has been characterised by popular demands for democracy and the subsequent collapse of most military and autocratic African Economic Outlook regimes on the continent. After years of military rule, one-party states and authoritarian regimes, there has been a resurgence of democracy and popular participation in governance. Africa’s record in the domain of politics is documented in the 2001 African Development Report published by the African Development Bank.

More, however, needs to be done to build on these initiatives and to establish broad societal support. Domestic Governance Issues As NEPAD moves towards implementation, it is important that appropriate projects and programmes are drawn up at the country and regional levels, and that effective institutional structures exist for their implementation. In this regard, the Heads of State have designated the African Union (AU) as the apex body of NEPAD to drive the whole process at the continental level.

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