Africa to fight poverty aggressively

prez.kufour.jpgA landmark plan of action, targetting an estimated 72 billion dollars a
year in external funding, to help Africa win the battle against poverty
was on Tuesday launched at the gathering of the continent’s political
leaders in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

President
John Agyekum Kufuor is among the Heads of State and Government of the
53-member nation bloc, who attended the two-day summit held under the
theme "Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Water and Sanitation."

The
plan, an initiative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban
Ki-Moon, provides a roadmap for fighting extreme poverty, hunger and
disease to achieve the MDGs by 2015 and comes at a time when there is
growing anxiety that many African Nations are not on track to meet the
goals.

It outlines focussed investments in agriculture,
education, health and infrastructure, as critical to present and future
efforts to reach the MDGs and was jointly produced and endorsed by the
UN, African Union (AU) Commission, African Development Bank (AfDB),and
the European Union (EU) Commission.

The others are the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), Islamic Development Bank Group,
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the
World Bank.

AU Chairman Jakaya Kikwete, described it as "a
call to action" and said it needed to be implemented immediately to
halt the spread of suffering.

Mr Jean Ping, Chairperson of
the AU Commission, said African leaders were looking to the Group of
Eight most industrialized nations (G8) to turn their existing promises
into action.

"The credibility of international commitments
is at stake. There are many development success stories across Africa
that can be replicated in more countries with additional funding."

He
noted that the existing EU and G8 commitments, combined with the
present aid flows from others sources, were sufficient to fund the plan.

With
the momentum generated by strong economic growth rates in many African
countries, increased commitment to domestic resource mobilization,
improving governance and better policy performance, Africa could still
achieve the MDGs by the year 2015.

These solid efforts by
the governments needed to be matched by follow-through on G8 aid
pledges to help the continent to make major gains against poverty.

The
G8 at its summit in Gleanagles in 2005 pledged to increase official
development assistance (ODA) to Africa by 25 billion dollars annually
by 2010.

Current statistics show that net annual ODA to
Africa has so far increased by only about a quarter of the 25 billion
dollars promised.

Meanwhile, President Kufuor, is scheduled to give his farewell address at the summit later in the day.

Measured
in 2007 US dollars, the Gleanagles commitment implied total net ODA
flow to Africa of about 62 billion dollars per year.

Source: GNA