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New Africa development plan embodies vision for advancement, UN official says

New Africa development plan embodies vision for advancement, UN official says

The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) embodies a vision of a continent on the move at a time of unprecedented international interest in proposals to help the world's least developed region, a senior United Nations official said today.

Addressing the Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development which began in Johannesburg, K.Y. Amoako, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, attributed the current mood of optimism to the cohesion shown by Africa's leaders.

"I believe that we would never have come so far had it not been for the political unity and leadership demonstrated here in Africa," said Mr. Amoako, calling NEPAD a "robust" framework that recognizes diversity among countries.

Concerning implementation of the initiative, Mr. Amoako said key areas for attention include sound policy-making, market access and mutual accountability. NEPAD, he told those assembled, "attempts to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts and tries to put wind in your sails of reform."

Today's meeting marked the start of three days of intensive talks in what is the largest gathering of Ministers and experts dealing with economic policy in Africa on NEPAD since its endorsement at the inaugural summit of the African Union in Durban in July 2002.

In addition to the Ministers, the meeting has attracted the participation of more than 500 officials, including central bank governors, leading academics and researchers, as well as civil society and private sector representatives.