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Asia, Africa Push for Full Globalization


Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, right, shakes hands with his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki
Leaders from Asia and Africa say both continents need to push for mutually beneficial globalization. They say it can be done through closer economic ties and trade between the two continents. The leaders made the comments a day ahead of the opening of the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta.

Leaders from Asia and Africa stressed the need for both continents to fully partake of the benefits of globalization by pushing for closer economic ties and trade between the two continents.

More than 40 heads of state from both continents have traveled to Jakarta to participate in the Asian-African Summit that begins Friday.

Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told heads of state at a business conference being held a day before the summit the countries of both continents need to band together for economic strength.

"In the days to come with the new Asia-Africa strategic partnership in operation, the countries of both continents can work more effectively together to build a more equitable world financial economic architecture," he said. "We can also have a bigger voice in the reforms of multi-lateral institutes, including the United Nations, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization."

Foreign Ministers of more than 80 Asian and African countries approved a draft that their leaders will discuss during the two-day summit aimed at renewing the partnership between the two continents that began 50 years ago.

That first summit was held in 1955 in the Indonesian city of Bandung where African and Asian leaders met to put their colonial past behind them and take their place on the world stage.

Although five decades have passed, Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo says little has changed for Africa and the globalization of the West has lent little benefit to his continent.

"The new globalization has little or no regard for culture, history, values, and the dreams of the weak," he said. "Its god is money and profit at the expense of almost all else. There is hardly an attempt to relate products and institutions to local specifications, hence it generates resistance and rejection, rather than acceptance."

Mr. Obasanjo stressed the need for cooperation between Africa and Asia in order for the two continents to reap the benefits of globalization.

"Partnership between Asian and African private sector operatives should be an obvious alternative to total dependence on the developed countries," he added. "The low level of business relationship between business interests in both continents must be addressed considering the aide range of opportunities that exist and the common values and experiences that we all share."

China weighed in with President Hu Jintao pointing out the great economic strides his country has made.

Mr. Hu said China was eager to share its experience of economic development to help other countries and looked forward to developing stronger economic ties with Africa.

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