11.03.2005 General News

Britain to pay 10% of Africa's multilateral debts

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Accra, March 11, GNA - Britain on Friday said she was considering paying 10 per cent of debt African countries owed multi-lateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

She said she had helped African countries, which opted for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative to have some of their debts they owed bilateral partners cancelled.

Mr Gordon Wetherell, British High Commissioner to Ghana, said this when answering questions at a press conference as to what would be Britain's position of advocating for the outright cancellation of Africa's debts within the framework of Commission for Africa (CfA). The press conference was held to brief the media about the launch of the Commission's report alternately in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and London.

British Prime Minister, Tony Blair mooted the concept of the Commission to generate new ideas and action for a strong and prosperous Africa, using the 2005 British presidencies of the G8 and the EU as platforms.

It is also to support the best of existing work on Africa, in particular the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the African Union and help to ensure this work achieves its goals while it also aims to help to deliver implementation of existing international commitments towards Africa.

The Commission, which has prominent Africans on the Continent forming a network to work towards its aims, is also to offer a fresh and positive perspective for Africa and its diverse culture in the 21st century, which challenges unfair perceptions and helps deliver changes and to understand and help fulfil African aspirations for the future by listening to Africans.

Mr Wetherell presenting the Report in Accra said with the working of the Commission "African countries would be able to achieve sustainable economic growth, at seven per cent."

They would be able to make major investments in the people of Africa that would help them to make the best use of new opportunities, accelerating progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Report called on African governments to meet their commitment to allocate 15 per cent of their annual budgets to health and put in place strategies for the effective delivery of health services.

It said donors should increase funding to support those strategies and making up the shortfall, from an additional 10 billion dollars annually immediately and rising to 20 billion dollars annually by 2015 and requested that the assistance should go predominantly through national budgets.

It again called on donors to fully fund the global fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria while committing themselves to the full funding of the Global Alliance for Vaccines Immunisation (GAVI). "They should meet their commitments to the Polio Eradication Initiative to eradicate polio in 2005."

The Commission said to support the changes that hade begun in Africa, it was calling for an additional 25 billion dollars in aid, to be implemented by 2010.

Donor countries should commit themselves immediately to provide their fair share to the fund, subject to a review of progress then, there would be a second stage, with a further 25 billion dollars a year to be implemented by 2015".

The Commission said to ensure that the money was well-spent good governance in Africa must continue to advance and donors must significantly improve the quality of aid and how it was delivered. It said that meant more grants, more predictable and untied aid, donor processes that are less burdensome on the already stretched administrations of African countries.

It must also be better harmonised with the aid of other donors and better in line with priorities, procedures and systems of African government and that; "above all, it must be given in ways that make governments answerable primarily to their own people." 11 March 05

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