Amara Essy says poverty causes conflicts

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- African Union secretary-general Amara Essy of Cote d'Ivoire Monday told senior officials, diplomats and senior military officers here that poverty is a major cause of African conflicts and that economic partners should help the continent develop mechanisms for sustainable development.
Essy said that while the international community had done a great deal in showing concern for the many armed and civil strife in Africa, they must be willing to pay the price for peace.
"Peace cannot go with poverty," Essy told a plenary of the first ever sub-regional seminar on conflict management, peace and security which opened in Accra.
"We must think of security globally.
There is need to protect African societies from social and economic strife," he said.
The weeklong seminar was jointly organised by the Washington-based Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) and the government to assess opportunities for long-term conflict prevention in West Africa.
Those attending are senior government officials and other policymakers including military chiefs from the sub-region, Europe and the US.
Africa has a long list of conflicts from each region and many efforts to end them have either failed or stalled.
Essy, who expressed regret about the chain of conflicts in Africa, said a lot of regional peace initiatives failed because they were only idealistic.
"Establishing an institution for conflict prevention is one thing and involving civil society in its implementation is another," he said.
Defence minister Kwame Addo Kufuor said that in addition to poverty, Africa needs to do away with a negative colonial legacy and unite as an integrated family for meaningful development.
He cited unfair international trade practices, non- availability of adequate foreign direct investment, among other things, as thorny issues that the continent is grappling with in the face of globalisation.
He called for a Marshall Plan for Africa to reverse the situation.
"There are those who believe that this mission will have the best chance of success if it also includes effective poverty reduction and the channelling of meaningful investment to those parts of Africa that are free of conflict and where democratic governance has been established," he said.

20 august 2001 19:42:00

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