African leaders permit NEPAD to monitor aid pledges

Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- African leaders kicked off debate on Saturday on role o f the New Partnership for Africaâ?s Development (NEPAD) in ensuring the economic success of the continent.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said the NEPAD must begin to play the role of an African watchdog, with a responsibility of monitoring the release of bill i ons of dollars pledged for the continent's economic, social and environmental de v elopment over the years.
Meles, who chairs the NEPAD Heads of State Implementing Committee, which compris es some 20 African leaders, said the monitoring of the responses from the intern a tional donors was important for enhancing the debate and Africaâ?s participation at international development forums.
The debate was attended by a dozen African leaders, invited guests, among them, the immediate former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Canadian Minister of Sta t e for Foreign Affairs, Peter Kent.
Meles said such a move was tested during the last Group of Eight (G8) Summit in Muskoka, Canada, when a NEPAD monitoring report helped shape Africaâ?s effective participation at the Summit.
During the Muskoka Summit, the G8 leaders pledged US$5 billion for a project aim ed at improving the efforts to fight maternal deaths and help improve the health of mothers and their children.
The five-year aid pledge, which would increase to US$10 billion by 2015, was amo ng the latest aid pledges, the others being the pledges to help improve food sec u rity and agriculture in Africa.
Canada itself has pledged to provide US$1.
4 billion to the child and motherâ?s healthcare project.
Kent said African nations would receive the highest amount of this aid, which co uld reach 80 per cent of Canadaâ?s pledged funds.
He told the leaders the Muskoka initiative on maternal health, which has pledges of up to US$7.
3 billion, would be mobilized together with other additional fund s for Africaâ?s use.
He said Canada had also pledged US$600 million under the G8â?s food security pl an for poor countries.
Meles, who is under intense pressure at the NEPAD Summit to hand over the leader ship after three years, said the discussions by the African leaders would also f o cus on examining ways of enhancing Africaâ?s voice in reforming the worldwide fi nancial system.
Meles said efforts to raise the profile of Africa in the negotiations for a bett er global financial system had shown some progress.
He said Africaâ?s impressive economic growth was a motivation to the entire wor ld, noting that Africaâ?s contribution to the global economic growth was also vi sible.
African Union Chairman Bingu wa Mutharika, the Malawian President, appeared scep tical to the efforts that NEPAD has deployed in the recent past and called for a radical re-think of its role.
He said the African leaders should immediately undertake a review of the role of NEPAD adding that its plans should be designed to meet the demands of Africaâ?s development.
â?We should go back to the drawing board and re-look at the objectives and dete rmine what we want for the African economies,â? Mutharika said without mincing h is words.
His statement mirrored an internal displeasure with the progress that N EPAD has achieved so far.
He supported plans to make it an African watchdog tasked with the responsibility of monitoring the progress in the delivery of aid packages promised to Africa.

24 july 2010 11:08:00




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