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G-8 discussion of New Partnership for African Development is crucial, Annan says

G-8 discussion of New Partnership for African Development is crucial, Annan says

Discussions of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) at the upcoming Group of Eight Summit meeting in Canada could prove crucial to improving economic conditions on the continent, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today.

“What is important is that the African leaders have come together determined to improve the economic and social conditions of the continent and are determined to improve governance, the rule of law, regulatory systems, and in exchange are asking the developed nations to work with them not only in increased development assistance and debt relief but also to encourage investments,” Mr. Annan told reporters on arrival at UN Headquarters in New York this morning. “I would hope that this partnership will lead to a changed economic environment on the continent.”

At the same time, the Secretary-General, who will attend the Summit when it meets on 26 and 27 June in Kananaskis, Canada, underscored the need for G-8 leaders to back efforts to resolve the conflicts in Africa. “I think it’s a prerequisite for African economic development,” he said. “No one invests in a bad neighbourhood, and the conflicts really create the impression that Africa is a continent in crisis, so we need work very actively and collectively in resolving conflicts like the ones in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Angola, and I’m hoping that we will get the support of the G-8 in that area.”

Asked about what the meeting could hope to produce, he said, “We are not going to go there looking for magic success… one should not have unrealistic expectations.” Over time, he added, “NEPAD has a great potential if partners work in the spirit they have been discussing.”