09.09.2004 General News

JAK attends AU Summit on Poverty Alleviation

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From: Patrick A. Firempong, GNA Special Correspondent, Ouagadougou

Ouagadougou, Sept.8, GNA- President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday joined other African leaders at the opening session of the two-day Third Extraordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Assembly on Employment and Poverty Alleviation at Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The Session under the theme: "Strategies for Employment Creation/Promotion and Enhancing Sustainable Livelihood" was among other things, to attain a level of poverty alleviation and socio-economic conditions of Africans in consonance with the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals.

President Kufuor was accompanied by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr Yaw Barimah, Minister of Employment and Manpower Development to the Summit that would significantly raise the level and increase the growth rate of productive employment in all sectors of the economy.

The special sectors are rural and informal economies in the public sector and also to promote increased and decent employment opportunities throughout the economy with adequate social protection and respect for core labour standards.

The Summit was held by the AU in collaboration with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other partners and stakeholders.

Opening the Session, Chairman of the AU and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said African leaders must muster the necessary political will at the national, regional and continental levels to implement the Plan of Action that would be adopted at the end of the Summit.

He said this would guarantee to Africans an enhanced and sustainable livelihood.

"Let us for once reflect on the plight of our people, their pitiable conditions and the integrity of Africa and resolve to come up with initiatives that we plan to and must implement", he added.

President Obasanjo recalled many initiatives in the form of Declarations and Plans of Action that had been adopted previously against poverty and unemployment " but regrettably, these past initiatives have not banished the rising trend of poverty and problems of employment in Africa".

He said the challenge of waging a sustained fight against poverty through productive employment creation called for the commitment of both the poor and the affluent in society.

The Chairman of the AU said the poor must be prepared to embrace all available opportunities of helping their exit from poverty and the affluent must make commitments in appreciation of the fact that they could not enjoy their wealth in the face of massive poverty and the dangers that poverty posed for security and stability.

President Kufuor and his delegation returned home on Wednesday evening.

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