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African Leaders Meet to Discuss Western Investment - 2002-04-15

African leaders are meeting with world business executives in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, in an effort to boost Western investment in Africa. The meeting is taking place as part of the latest development initiative, known as the New Partnership for Africa's Development or NEPAD.

The NEPAD initiative, conceived last year, seeks to build an economic partnership between the G-8 - the world's wealthiest nations - and the African continent.

African officials meeting in Dakar are discussing a series of proposals that they will present to G-8 leaders at their summit in Canada in June.

In remarks made during the last leg of an African trip last week, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said African nations must improve their human rights record and ensure political stability in order to attract more Western investment.

At a meeting in Nigeria last month, NEPAD countries pledged their support for the creation of what they said would be an African peer review mechanism. The mechanism would consist of a code of good governance that would be designed and enforced by Africans.

NEPAD was initiated by a coalition of nations across the continent, led by Nigeria and South Africa. The aim of the initiative is to draw more investment, rather than direct aid, from wealthy nations to the countries of Africa.

NEPAD countries hope to attract more than $60 billion a year in outside investment.

The meeting in Dakar is scheduled to continue through Tuesday. The opening ceremony Monday was presided by the president of Gabon, Omar Bongo.