President John Kufuor and five African leaders including the presidents of Souh Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Algeria and Uganda concluded discussions with leaders of the north yesterday, following an invitation from George W Bush, the US president and current chair of the G8.
The African leaders re-emphasised the need for partnership between Africa and the G8 particularly given efforts aimed at poverty reduction and pushing back the frontiers of under-development.
African leaders briefed the G8 leaders on peace and security initiatives including the recent launch of the peace and security council, progress made in respect of reviews undertaken under the African peer review mechanism, agricultural development and concerns of the African continent regarding the logjam in multilateral negotiations
In response, President George Bush made a commitment to ensure that AGOA III is passed as soon as possible. In this regard, it was further noted that AGOA had assisted in the creation of over 300 000 jobs on the African continent.
African leaders concerned over logjam
The G8 leaders joined African leaders in expressing their concern regarding the logjam that had arisen in multilateral negotiations with particular reference to WTO and committed themselves to act to assist in unlocking it, the statement said.
With respect to the peace and security support operations and resource flows, G8 and African leaders agreed on the need for the Nepad steering committee and the personal representatives of the leaders of the G8 to develop concrete proposals for consideration by both leaders at the next G8 meeting. The Sea Island encounter was the fourth meeting between African and G8 leaders with a view to building and consolidating partnerships aimed at advancing the Nepad, the continent's economic developmental programme.
Previous interactions between the leaders took place in Japan (2000), Italy (2001), Canada (2002) and France (2003). This year's meeting took place against the background of the agreement by G8 leaders in 2002 in Kananaskis, Canada, committing themselves through the G8 Africa Action Plan to support Nepad and a further commitment to allocate 50% or more of the increase in development assistance announced in Monterrey, for Africa, the statement said.
In this regard, the G8 Africa Action Plan was aimed at addressing the following issues :
Promoting peace and security
Strengthening institutions and governance
Fostering trade, investment, economic growth and sustainable development
Implementation of debt relief
Improving health and confronting HIV/Aids
Increase in agricultural productivity
Improving water resource management
"It was reconfirmed that a comprehensive review of progress of the implementation of the G8 Africa Action Plan will be conducted in 2005," the statement said. "The prime minister of the UK stressed that the work of the UK commission for Africa will focus on developing a holistic response for issues of trade governance, peace and security, human development and resource flows," the statement added.