Mbeki calls on G8 to support Nepad

President Thabo Mbeki called on G8 countries on Friday to follow through on promises of support for Africa’s socio-economic rescue plan Nepad (New Partnership for Africa’s Development).

”The other G8 members have got to respond in the manner that Japan has,” Mbeki said at the end of a three-day development conference in Yokohama, Japan.

”The question is the follow-up on the practical measures, that will then be taken, to ensure that these decisions are implemented,” Mbeki said in a statement issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The Tokyo International Conference on African Development agreed that the continent should aim to double rice production in a decade and to expand irrigated land by 20% in five years with assistance from Japan.

”Not only Japan, but also other organisations like the World Bank, like the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Food and Agricultural Organisation, all of them committed themselves to providing additional funds to respond to increasing agricultural production as well as short-term measures to deal with the issue of the high food prices,” said Mbeki.

”We need to encourage the other G8 members to follow this example, so that indeed we don’t need any new Nepad programmes, what we need is practical action on the part of G8 to respond to the commitments they have made.”

Mbeki welcomed a decision at the Japan conference to put in place a monitoring mechanism to ”look at what actually practically is being done to implement these agreements”.

”I think that it is a very important step forward so that you do not end up with good decisions but with no follow-up mechanism. Japan will be hosting the G8, and has undertaken that it will take the outcomes of this meeting to the G8, in order also to push the rest of the G8, to act in a practical manner.

”Given that you are dealing here with the second largest economy in the world [Japan], the decisions that have been arrived at, as provided for in the programme of action, are very important and very relevant to what the African continent is trying to do for instance through Nepad.”

Nepad, a recovery plan for the African continent, was adopted in 2001 and sets out to reduce poverty levels and promises good governance in return for support from developed nations. – Sapa

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