African leaders are asking for up to 75 billion dollars more in aid to help reduce poverty and disease. The request came today at a summit of NEPAD, the New Partnership For Africa’s Development. The meeting took place in Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt. NEPAD is aimed at revitalizing the continent’s economy by rewarding countries that have strong political and economic management practices with investment from the industrialized world.
NEPAD members are working closely with the G-8 countries, which meet in July in Scotland. A NEPAD report issued today is asking the G-8 to propose a timetable for dropping subsidies to specific countries, while offering a way to facilitate african exports to european markets. Other issues reportedly discussed at the meeting include ways to restart talks between the government of sudan and rebels in darfur, and the African Peer Review Mechanism, or PRM. It is an effort to enhance foreign investment by reviewing a given country’s progress in democratization and economic management.
Today, delegates were to discuss the findings of the reviews on Ghana, Twanda, Mauritania and Kenya. But it was announced that the reviews for Ghana and Rwanda are not finished – and will be announced at a later time. Also, it was reported that no presidents from those countries attended today’s summit. Neither did South African president Thabo Mbeke and Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade.
Eddy Maloka is the chief executive officer of The Africa Institute of South Africa in Pretoria. He told English to Africa reporter William Eagle he did not think it is significant that several African leaders did not go to the summit. He says that this is a typical meeting of the heads of state implementation committee and it is not unusual for leaders to send other officials in their place.
Dr. Maloka says, for example, that President Mbeki went to Indonesia to the Asian-African Summit, which is hosted by Indonesia and South Africa. It’s hoped this year's summit will focus on bringing Asia and Africa new trade and friendship pacts. The past few years have seen an increase in trade between Asia and Africa, and oil-rich countries such as Nigeria, Angola, and Algeria are likely to be courted by Asian governments during the summit. This year's summit also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the 1955 conference in Bandung, Indonesia, where African and Asian leaders met to put their colonial past behind them.