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Germany to Make Africa Priority at Next G8 Summit

Germany is hosting next year’s G8 summit, and Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to make Africa a priority at the meeting. As part of that decision, Germany is expected to propose that each G8 country sign a partnership agreement with one African country.

The relief organization – ActionAid – applauds the emphasis on Africa, but rejects the focus on just a small group of countries.

Anne Jellema is ActionAid’s director of policy. From Johannesburg, South Africa, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua.

“We really congratulate Chancellor Merkel for showing the leadership in putting Africa on the agenda. We know that there was a lot of pressure from other interests to focus in on the G8’s own interests and ignore Africa. So, we’re really, really pleased that she’s shown the leadership to put Africa back on the agenda,” she says.

Last year’s summit in Gleneagles, Scotland also placed an emphasis on Africa. Asked whether Merkel is following British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s lead, she says, “Chancellor Merkel wants to make her own mark on development and globalization. We hope that she will follow through on Tony Blair’s lead and make sure that the Gleneagles’ promise to double aid to Africa by 2010 is delivered. But we also think that Chancellor Merkel has the unique opportunity to push even further to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and equitable growth in Africa.”

The 2007 G8 summit will be held in Heiligendamm, Germany.