How to prevent conflicts and bolster development in Africa were the focus of the second day of a major donor conference Tuesday that brings together 23 African heads of state and delegates from about 140 countries and international organizations.
French Cooperation Minister Pierre Andre Wiltzer said awareness is growing that peace lays the foundation for development — while at the same time noting poverty threatens peace.
“Africa is the only part of the world that is not developing and is the only part of the world where the situation is worsening,” Wiltzer said. “France cannot accept this, on principle and because it is dangerous for peace.”
Peacekeeping operations are meanwhile crucial for development, he said.
Officials said one of the aims of the conference was to put Africa’s concerns in the global spotlight, especially when attention is focused on the U.S. effort to rebuild Iraq.
In a keynote speech Monday, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi promised his country would spend $1 billion over the next five years on African development projects, including building schools, supplying drinking water and providing more vaccinations.
Japan, the biggest contributor of aid to Africa, is hosting the international conference for the continent for the third time since 1993.
Delegates Tuesday also discussed agriculture and food security.
The failure of World Trade Organization talks in Mexico earlier this month disappointed poor African farmers, who had hoped a decision leading to a reduction in tariffs would have opened up markets for them.
The Tokyo agenda also includes building support for an African initiative called the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, or NEPAD, under which the continent is creating a peer review body intended to end war and corruption. On the opening day, international donors confirmed their support for the NEPAD plan after it was outlined by the leaders of South Africa, Nigeria and Senegal.
The NEPAD plan calls on African nations to adopt international good governance standards to help draw foreign investors to a continent that now receives just 1.5 percent of global investment.
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