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Government officials and private-sector specialists from Asia, Africa and Europe agreed with representatives of international organizations Tuesday that African nations should follow the course taken by Asia in promoting economic development.

“It is valuable for Africa to learn from Asian experience how to efficiently utilize limited resources in accordance with a policy road map formulated from a long-term perspective,” said a joint statement summarized by former Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, who chaired the two-day Asia-Africa Trade and Investment Conference.

Efforts by Asian countries with scarce natural resources to put a special emphasis on human resource development are “especially instructive” to African nations, the statement said.

The conference, attended by some 700 representatives, including those from 49 African countries, was cohosted by the Japanese government, the United Nations, the Global Coalition for Africa, and the World Bank to help expand exports from Africa to Asia.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who chairs the African Union, and Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki were among the African representatives.

The participants also agreed on the need for the private sector to take the initiative in promoting economic development in Africa, while calling for expanded trade and investment to achieve self-reliance and sustainable development in the region.

The participants also called for African nations to address a host of issues including inadequate infrastructure and human resources, and complex legal systems, as they impede business operations there.

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