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Chretien Meets Seven Leaders in South Africa - 2002-04-08

Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien has met with South African President Thabo Mbeki and other regional leaders in Pretoria on the fourth stop of a six-nation Africa tour. Mr. Chretien, the current Chairman of the Group of Seven most industrialized nations plus Russia, has been holding talks this month on African economic development and the upcoming G-8 summit.

Mr. Chretien says he is impressed with the progress being made towards implementing an African development plan. He said the New Partnership for Africa's Development, known as NEPAD, will be one of the top items on the agenda of the G-8 Summit in June in Kananaskis, Canada.

Promoting democracy and good governance in Africa rate high among the New Partnership's goals, in exchange for a boost in Western economic assistance. Mr. Chretien says topics such as human rights, democracy, the rule of law, transparency, and good governance in Africa will be discussed at the G-8 summit. NEPAD seeks to achieve an annual growth rate of seven-percent on the African continent by 2015.

Mr. Chretien and Mr. Mbeki were joined in their talks Sunday by Presidents Festus Mogae of Botswana, Bakili Muluzi of Malawi, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Sam Nujoma of Namibia, Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, and Vice-President Enoch Kavindele of Zambia.

On Friday, in Abuja, Nigeria, the Canadian Prime Minister met with the presidents of Sierra Leone, Benin, Ivory Coast, and Nigeria, as well as the Vice-President of Ghana. Besides visiting Nigeria, he has also made stops in Morocco and Algeria and will visit Ethiopia and Senegal before heading home.