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G-8 Adopts Initiative for Africa's  Development - 2002-06-27

The industrial nations participating in the Group of Eight summit in Canada Thursday reached agreement with four African leaders on a new aid and investment program for Africa.

Called the Action Plan for African Development, the program attempts to bring more of the benefits of trade and investment around the world to the continent that has gained least from globalization. Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien emphasized the plan is a new beginning.

"Kananaskis will be remembered as an extremely important summit where we have acted collectively to make sure that globalization benefits all the citizens of the globe," he said. "And that no continent should be left behind."

The leaders of Senegal, Algeria, South Africa and Nigeria participated in the final day of the Kananaskis summit. They explained to their counterparts from North America, Russia, Western Europe and Japan the details of NEPAD, their new Partnership for African Development.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, speaking for the Africans, called NEPAD a compact between African leaders and their citizens to promote good government and economic progress. According to Mr. Obasanjo, African leaders will judge each other on how effectively they are complying with the principles.

"We will peer-review ourselves for performance in the economic, political and in the social fields," he said. "How are we doing? And if any of us are lagging behind, we will give him the push or we will give him the sanction."

African officials who drew up the compact expect only 10 or so countries will subscribe to it at first.

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, also at the summit, stressed NEPAD has far reaching implications.

"NEPAD provides the framework for ending conflicts, for stemming the flow of refugees and internally displaced persons and improving the investment climate, a prerequisite for sustainable development on the continent," he said.

Western nations promise to substantially boost their assistance to Africa, which currently totals about $12 billion annually.