10 April 2002

Africa: Nepad to Guide African Fortunes At WSSD

Pretoria — Africa's widely endorsed recovery plan - Nepad - will play a key role in guiding the continent's prospects and pushing ahead an African agenda at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg in August.

Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Valli Moosa said this during his address to the South Africa-United States multi stake dialogue on the outcome of the forthcoming United Nation's largest development summit at Sandton in Johannesburg, yesterday.

Private sector heavyweights, donor bodies, civil society and government representatives from both nations attended the one-day meeting that focused on development and the sustainability of energy and water.

Minister Moosa added that the ambitious plan that sought to reform growth, had the potential to unlock economic growth and eradicate poverty, while sustaining development on the continent. He said it could also serve as a model for other developing countries.

'It (Nepad) is a pledge by African leaders and governments, based on a common vision and commitment, to eradicate poverty and place our countries, individually and collectively on the path of sustained growth and development,' he stressed.

Recently, African leaders, including President Thabo Mbeki, began a process in Nigeria of putting flesh to the plan that would be presented to the world's eight industrialised nations (G8) meeting in Canada before returning it to the summit.

The plan has been widely approved by the world's key influential leaders, international financial and political institutions as a viable African lifeline deserving support.

In his recent visit to South Africa, G8 chairperson and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien threw his weight behind the plan, saying it would receive full attention at the meeting of G8 leaders.

On the outcome of the summit, Minister Moosa said the more than 60 000 delegates should come up with concrete 'action-oriented' programmes that would contribute to good relations between the developed and developing nations.

'We are not looking for an unequal partnership between the resource-rich and the resource-poor but a symbiotic relationship to entrench common values and realise common goals toward the achievement of local and global development.'

'It is crucial that a global deal is supported by a programme of action, with clear targets, timeframes and delivery mechanisms to be delivered through a series of partnerships at the international, regional, national and local levels,' emphasised Mr Moosa.

It is expected that the African leaders and civil society groupings will call for the continent's development, given the backlog brought along by colonization, civil conflicts, HIV/Aids and poverty.

At their recent meeting at the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, the continent's foreign ministers vowed to speak with one voice at the summit.

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