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Democratization and good governance in Africa are essential to promoting economic development, participants in a three-day international conference on African development agreed Tuesday, according to Foreign Ministry officials.The agreement was reached on the second day of the second Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-II).African countries must make a firm commitment to root out corruption within their societies in order to increase their chances of achieving development, said South Africa’s Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, who chaired a session of the conference on good governance.In a speech during the conference, Mbeki stressed the relationship between democracy, respect for human rights, institutional developments, accountability of government and development.He touched on the complex problem of corruption within African societies, and said that “it will then further be argued that development will not occur until we, as Africans, have wiped out this practice in the interests of the correct perspective of clean government and good governance.”The participants also shared the view that economic development will help resolve civil wars in Africa, the ministry officials said.They said measures to remove small firearms from countries devastated by civil wars should be seriously considered because such firearms are obstacles for development, they said.U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata, who chaired a session for development, said that repatriation of refugees and their reintegration into communities are essential in promoting social and economic development in Africa.”The very existence of refugees, internally displaced people and returnees who are unable to be reintegrated in their communities, negates the conditions for human development,” Ogata told the African development conference.”Displacement is one of the main obstacles on the road to economic prosperity,” she said. Of the 22.4 million displaced or recently repatriated people worldwide, 7.4 million are on the African continent.

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