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08.06.2007 Africa

Honour your promises to Africa – Kufuor


African leaders on Friday demanded that the world's highly developed countries delivered on development aid pledges made to the Continent.

President John Agyekum Kufuor, Chairman of the African Union said after a special session with the Club of Industrialized countries in the Baltic seaside resort of Heiligendamm, Germany, that, "Africa expects that the G-8 deliver on its promises."

He said: "The Continent on its part would do its bit of the bargain and prove equal to its responsibilities."

President Kufuor, standing side by side with German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a joint decision to set up a Mutual Accountability Organ to hold the two sides to their word.

He described the session and decisions reached as very important, providing the basis for good partnership between Africa and the G-8.

South African President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar´Adua, President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal, Algerian President Abdul Aziz Bouteflika, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, and AU Commission President Professor Omar Alpha Konare attended the session.

The G8 in its meeting in Gleneagles, Scotland, in 2005, pledged to double its development assistance to Africa to 25 billion dollars by 2010 but the total amount released in 2006 stood at about 2.1 billion dollars.

The leaders of these countries, including President George Bush of the United States (US), German Chancellor Merkel, Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom (UK), Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have been meeting for the past three days to set the political and economic agenda for the direction of the world.

Meanwhile, the G-8 has agreed on a 60 billion dollar package to help Africa wage war on the HIV-AIDS pandemic, Malaria and Tuberculosis, a move Prime Minister Blair hailed as very significant.

Global Fund, an International Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has also welcomed it as "good news."

"We appreciate the role of the G-8 in re-affirming the universal treatment commitment," the Executive Director of the Fund, Dr Michel Kazatchkine, said in a statement, after the announcement of the deal.

It also saluted the moral leadership of the renowned singer, Bob Geldof and Civil Society organisations that played crucial role in keeping the world's focus on fighting these diseases and on Africa's development.

Source: GNA