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16.02.2007 General News

Africa Not Continent Of Doom - Prez Kufuor

By Samuel Amoako Cannes, France

President J.A. Kufuor has called on the western media to acknowledge the positive developments taking place in Africa and desist from painting it as a continent of doom and gloom.

He said a section of the media in the West do that just because there are conflicts in some parts of the continent without taking into account the 'size, complexity and variety of our great continent.'

President Kufuor was speaking at the opening of the 24th session of the Africa-France summit here yesterday.

The summit which aims at strengthening relations between France and African countries is being attended by more than 30 African heads of state as well as the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and former Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshiro Mori.

President Kufuor said reports of corruption, crime, civil wars and even murder in Africa should not be presented in the media as if they were inherently African and exclusive to the continent, since they occur everywhere in the world.

Objective reporting, he said, will facilitate the rally of all humanity to deal with the issues confronting the continent.

'In many respects, Africa is a land of warmth, beauty and hospitality which many visitors and tourists who visit the continent can attest to,' he said.

Africa’s success story, the President said should rather be told more loudly and assumes centre stage on the world media’s agenda.

He called on the genuine partnership of France as an old friend of Africa to assist in giving concrete meaning to the purpose and objectives of the summit.

President Kufuor said the presence of a large number of African leaders at the summit demonstrated the value they attached to their relations with the people of France, adding that France was playing significant roles in almost every sphere of life of the continent.

'President Chirac, I wish to assure you that Ghana, and I believe that many countries, appreciate your continued commitment to strengthening of bonds of friendship and cooperation existing between France and Africa.'

He said he was happy to have been entrusted with the chair of the African Union at a time when the continent was witnessing a significant transformation in which economic interdependence with a focus on regional integration and partnerships with the outside world were being pursued vigorously.

French President Jacques Chirac expressed happiness that democracy was deeply taking roots in Africa which hitherto was bedevilled by conflicts.

He said the commitment of African and international organisations was bearing fruits, citing for instance in Liberia, Sierra Leone and in the Great Lakes Region and especially, with the holding of free elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo which set the seal on the reconciliation of the whole region.

Peace, he said could not have come about without the determined commitment of the AU to condemn coups and push for dialogue and the holding of elections.

President Chirac noted that though Africa was progressing and contributing to the world economy, the continent continued to be faced with substantial challenges and called for support for it.

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