MAP could be a difficult plan to sell

Posted On Thursday, 07 June 2001 03:01 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Worsening conditions have been reported in one in 12 African countries, Parliament hears

Thabo MbekiCAPE TOWN Many African countries are not on track to meet set poverty reduction targets, raising fears about how effective the continent will be in selling the Millennium African Recovery Plan (MAP) to developed countries.

The MAP, an integrated developmental blueprint co-ordinated by the presidents of SA, Nigeria and Algeria, is a response to the question of what Africa is doing to help itself.

Developed nations' support of MAP is seen as contingent on African countries meeting good governance, developmental and other obligations as per the thrust of the programme.

Updating Parliament yesterday on progress on key issues facing the south, foreign affairs deputy directorgeneral Abdul Minty said one in 12 African countries were now reporting "worsening" conditions.

Casualty rates were ascribed to HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, lack of water and sanitation, and a general lack of developmental infrastructure.

Minty lamented the fact that the situation came at a time when the continent and the rest of the developing world had succeeded in lobbying for an "unprecedented" focus by the rest of the world on developmental issues.

Minty said that although he wanted to "caution", there was no need to despair. Dialogue with developed would continue in spite of any hiccups, he said.

The global community recognises that Africa has been marginalised and that developing nations are not asking for handouts but want to compete on a world stage.

They want an end, for example, to European protection of their markets through heavy subsidies coupled with high tariffs.

President Thabo Mbeki, his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo, and Algeria's Abdelaziz Bouteflika, sold the MAP concept to the Group of Eight (G-8) summit of the top eight industrialised countries in Okinawa in Japan last year.

The G-8 thereafter made a host of commitments, including reducing the number of young people with HIV by 25% by the year 2010, increasing continuous funding for education, and bridging the technology gap between rich and poor nations.

G-8 countries have since also expressed a desire to forgive stifling debts, except those directly owed to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In December, however, the World Bank and the IMF announced an enhanced debt-relief programme for 22 of the world's poorest countries.

Eighteen of the countries are from Africa, and include Mozambique, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.

The European Union, Canada and Japan had taken "positive" political positions on trade matters, Minty said, but this had yet to be followed by actions, something that would be determined through negotiations at the World Trade Organisation.

The world must face the challenges that were posed at the United Nations Millennium Summit, which include debt cancellation, improved market access, enhanced official development access, increased flows of foreign direct investment, transfers of technology and, more broadly, bringing Africa into the mainstream of the world economy.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 April 2014 09:31

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