€3bn German Devt package for Africa

Thu, 4 Oct 2007 Source: GNA

Addis Ababa, Oct. 4, GNA - German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged three billion Euros in development assistance to Africa over the next three years.

This is in addition to other financial commitments made by her country to the Continent at the June G-8 Summit held in the German Resort of Heiligendamm.

Chancellor Merkel, who was jointly addressing the AU Commission and Permanent Representatives at the AU's Headquarters in Addis Ababa with President John Agyekum Kufuor, said Africa was at the heart of Germany's development policy and that they would make great effort to honour their commitments.

She, however, demanded that funds made available by development partners should be used effectively to help to lift up the people from poverty.

The European Union (EU) of which, Germany is a key member, provides about 50 per cent of the total development assistance to Africa. She noted that aid alone would not help to transform the situation of Africa and that Africans themselves needed to bear the responsibility of making things better.

"The foundation for development and successful fight to reduce poverty lies with Africa itself."

The German Chancellor observed that the image of the Continent had improved tremendously in recent times and asked the political leaders to see to it that this positive development did not suffer any reverses. She said they must not remain silent but speak against dictatorship, corruption and the violation of democracy and the rule of law.

Democracy, good governance and transparency were keys to economic growth, she said, adding that it was in the light of this that the African Peer Review Mechanism, must be appreciated as a serious opportunity to bring transformation to Africa.

She also acknowledged the need for the Continent to have a fair share of the international trade and not just aid. "This is why there must be a successful conclusion to the DOHA Round of Talks", she said.

President Kufuor praised Germany for the positive and significant role it had been playing both in world affairs and in its relations with Africa.

He said it was, therefore, not surprising that under Chancellor Merkel's Presidency of the EU between January and June 2007 and the G-8, African issues were pushed on high agenda culminating in very far-reaching decisions on debt relief, education, HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, energy and increase in development aid among other things.

"However, we remain painfully aware that much more has been promised in the past, which has yet to be fulfilled." He said it was in the light of this that Chancellor Merkel needed to be commended for ensuring that the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm did not only make further commitments to Africa but put in place concrete monitoring implementation plans on how the promises could be realized by 2010.

President Kufuor said Africa was determined to do its bit of the bargain and to live up to its responsibilities as the developed countries delivered on aid pledges. 04 Oct. 07

Source: GNA