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Rich Nations Boost Aid Levels To End Poverty

Rich Nations Boost Aid Levels To End Poverty, Southern African Nations Tell UN

New York, Sep 21 2006 7:00PM

Developing nations will never be able to rise up from poverty until they receive much greater assistance from the industrialized world, the leaders of five Southern African nations told the United Nations General Assembly today.

Addressing the Assembly’s annual debate, Madagascar’s President Marc Ravalomanana called for African countries to receive the same amounts of aid that the ravaged economies of Western Europe received under the Marshall Plan following World War II or the European Union (EU) extended to Eastern Europe after the collapse of communism.

“The sad reality is that Africa receives less international assistance – per capita – than 20 years ago,” he said, recommending a doubling or tripling of annual support in the short term.

Mr. Ravalomanana said that while poor governance, instability and internal conflicts in recent decades have contributed to Africa’s continuing poverty, the reduction of aid since the mid-1980s is the one of the biggest factors.

“We have even heard proposals for further reduction of international assistance so that developing countries become much more independent quickly,” he said, adding “it is a fundamental misunderstanding.

“To become independent, developing countries need more international assistance. Greater support means the shortest way towards independence. The more we invest in the areas of education, infrastructure and health, and the more strengthened economic growth will be.”

Armando Emílio Guebuza, the President of Mozambique, observed that “no country alone, however resourceful it is, can successfully overcome” underdevelopment by itself.

Mr. Guebuza said affluent countries had failed to deliver on their promises in the Millennium Declaration of 2000, the Monterrey Consensus or the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to forge global partnerships for development. The Doha Round of international trade negotiations has also collapsed without agreement.

“Little has so far been achieved. Abject poverty remains a feature in the majority of developing countries,” he said.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Bethuel Mosisili of Lesotho described the suspension of the Doha Round as “a disquieting development” and would only make it harder for the world to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the target date of 2015.

“We truly believed there was a common understanding that trade was the most effective route out of poverty,” he said, adding that the prosperity and security of all nations, rich or poor depends on factors including free and fair trade.

Mr. Mosisili called for the doubling of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and complete debt cancellation for all of the world’s poorest nations, and not just the most heavily indebted.

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika voiced concern that the longer such a large percentage of the world’s population remains mired in poverty, the greater the risk to global peace and stability.

“It is our hope that those who have should learn to share with those who do not have,” he said.

Dr. Mutharika said his Government was focusing its own development efforts in several key fields, including improving agriculture and food security so that Malawi becomes a ‘hunger-free’ nation, enhancing irrigation and water development to reduce the country’s dependence on rain-fed agriculture, and overhauling and expanding Malawi™s road networks to encourage more trade.

But he added that international partners are needed for such areas as energy, HIV/AIDS prevention and management, and rural development.

Ahmed Abdallah Mohamed Sambi, President of the Comoros, spoke of the paradox where the world is enjoying an age of tremendous technological advancement and yet millions of people still lack the basic necessities of life and remain vulnerable to famine, pandemics and natural disasters.

Mr. Sambi said that while many developing countries need to overhaul their governance and improve their treatment of human rights, affluent nations must do much more to ensure there are fairer terms of trade with poor States.

Ends

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