11 July 2005

Secretary-General Congratulates G-8 for Africa Communiqué, Promise to Double Aid by 2010

NEW YORK, 8 July (UN Headquarters) -- Following is UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s statement on the Group of Eight communiqué on Africa:

I want to congratulate Prime Minister Tony Blair and his fellow G-8 leaders on what they have done today for Africa.  This G-8 was being closely watched by people everywhere.  The leaders carried the hopes of people around the world who wanted progress towards reducing poverty in Africa, and today they got it:  a promise to double aid to Africa by $25 billion a year by 2010.  And indeed official development assistance as a whole is to increase by $50 billion by that year.

This is very good news; and similarly, there has been welcome progress on debt, with 100 per cent cancellation now for 18 of the most indebted countries, and an innovative Paris Club debt solution for Nigeria.

Further, in the G-8 meeting with African leaders, the latter reaffirmed their commitment to good governance, democracy and the fight against corruption.  They also reaffirmed the priority they give to the basic decision of achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the areas of health, education, gender equality, agriculture, infrastructure and communication.

I had hoped that G-8 leaders might also have committed themselves to a clear, unambiguous date for ending export subsidies.  They will have another opportunity to do so in December, at the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Hong Kong. 

But this is the beginning, not the end, for the people and the leaders who made today’s success possible.  We got here through the exercise of political will.  That will must not be allowed to disperse if we are to keep on track for 2015.

I hope Gleneagles will be remembered as the beginning of something very big, perhaps even the beginning of the end of mass poverty.

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