Konare calls for African Marshall plan

Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso (PANA) -- The President of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Alpha Oumar Konaré, stated here Wednesday that only an effort similar to what was made in Western Europe after the second World War, or even more, would pull Africa out of its current situation.
Addressing the opening session of the third AU extraordinary summit devoted to unemployment and the fight against poverty, Konare said that Africa deserves more resources to finance its development needs.
"Neither the total cancellation of debts asked for more than 25 years nor the doubling of public development aid promised over the past 30 years are enough to reach the required 64 billion dollars to implement the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)", the former Malian President told the two-day summit.
He appealed to Africa's development partners to fulfil their promises to increase public development aid, finance the Millennium commitments, as well as to end agricultural and export subsidies.
Konare pleaded for a new partnership with Africa based on the implementation of viable development projects and the mobilisation of new resources for the continent.
"Our previous projects failed mainly due to the inadequacy of our resources while ongoing strategies have shown their limitations.
We need more resources to establish solid economic infrastructures," Konare said.
"We need solid and diversified partnerships and state partners who fulfil all their political responsibilities," he added.
He challenged the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to draw the political lessons from the freeze on public sector and for giving priority to the private sector as an alternative, rather than as a complement in job creation.
"These policies of abusive denunciation of the role of the government and privatisation that to the liquidation of enterprises only accentuated unemployment and poverty, sapped all the fighting spirit and responsibility, annihilated the human element and prevented the emergence of the middle class in Africa," he regretted.
The AU Commission President stressed that Africa should not be reduced to being a continent of agriculture and as a source of raw materials.
He urged African leaders to invest in human and social capital, promote intra-African trade, develop local industries and encourage the informal sector by targeting vulnerable groups.
Meanwhile, Konare painted a grim picture of the continent's economic and social situation.
He deplored that conflicts were raging in more than 15 African countries, spewed out about three million refugees, killed several thousands f people and displaced more than 13 million others.
"African leaders are often to blame for causing conflict situations through bad governance," Konare told the two-day summit.
He assured African leaders that the AU Commission he heads would do its best to execute the plan of action to be adopted at the end of the summit on Thursday.

08 september 2004 21:00:00




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