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14.01.2007 General News

Kufuor, Kohler to sign letters on Forum recommendations

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The two-day German-Africa Partnership Forum ended in Accra on Sunday with a pledge by President John Agyekum Kufuor to jointly sign letters with German President Horst Kohler, to all leaders in Africa and Europe, on its recommendations.

This, he said, would help bring to global attention, the sentiments of the young people on the continent and their German counterparts regarding issues of the environment, education, violence and armed conflicts, migration, jobs and political participation. President Kufuor was addressing a press conference to bring down the curtain on the Forum at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre.

Four African Heads of State-- President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, President Festus Mogae of Botswana, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and President Thomas Yayi Boni of Benin, together with Mr Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission and Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas, President of ECOWAS Commission also participated.

An initiative of President Kohler, the forum provided an opportunity for about 50 young leaders from Africa and Germany to interact with high-ranking leaders in politics, research and business on challenges of the society.

President Kufuor, who described the Forum as "very successful" encouraged the youth to have self-confidence and work with their leaders to address the challenges facing their countries.

The German President promised to use his influence to support the youth to help achieve their objectives.

President Johnson-Sirleaf, President Yayi Boni and President Mogae took turns to also address the press and were unanimous in their assessment of the Forum as a major success. In their recommendations at the end of the meeting, the youth, among others, asked for the strengthening of the rule of law by comprehensively reforming institutions of state to make them transparent and accountable.

Political leaders should also sign and implement treaties for the protection and security of young people such as the Convention on the Right of the Child as well as treaties to stop the recruitment of child soldiers and small arms proliferation.

Additionally, they should expedite actions to solve migration conflicts in such manner that security and dignity would be upheld. Besides, they demanded that peace and civic education should be included in the curricula of formal and informal institutions of learning as well as the building of the capacity of civil society to ensure freedom of operation within states and at the sub-regional and continental levels.

On education and employment, it called for the incorporation of entrepreneurship into African education curricula and the launch of "centers of excellence" initiative for African Universities, to be managed by NEPAD as an incentive for improving quality of tertiary education.

Touching on politic al participation in society, it called on Governments in Africa and Germany to take responsibility and fight corruption and mismanagement that hinder effective political participation, especially of young people.

It also asked that environmental issues be mainstreamed into the Africa Peer Review Mechanism of NEPAD to hold Governments accountable for their environmental performance. 14 Jan. 2007

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