Africans, G8 discuss partnership in Algiers
By Nazim Fethi for Magharebia in Algiers – 14/11/07
The ninth session of the Africa Partnership Forum (APF) began Monday (November 12th) in Algiers, chaired jointly by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and German counterpart Horst Kohler, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the G8 group of industrialised nations.
In remarks made at the session's opening, President Bouteflika said the presence of the German leader sent a "clear signal" of the importance given to the forum by Germany and the G8, and the "crucial role" they play in promoting partnership between Africa and developed countries.
Calling Africa a "continent of the future", the Algerian president said its prosperity "is also the prosperity of its partners".
As a result, he said the first objective of the Africa Partnership Forum "must still be to work for greater co-ordination between our efforts, so that the dynamic of dialogue, solid co-operation and mutually beneficial partnership which has existed since Kananaskis will fully meet our hopes and expectations."
The APF, which meets regularly every six months, was scheduled to debate the topic of "Governance and Development" during the current session. Particular emphasis was given to mutual evaluation of programmes under the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
The APF, launched in April 2003 to broaden the scope of dialogue and partnership between Africa and the world's economic powers, brings together representatives of African and G8 countries, member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
President Kohler called for the establishment of equitable trading conditions between Africa and developed countries, notably through the reduction of customs tariffs on African processed products.
Kohler stressed that these equitable conditions "must translate into current trade negotiations" to achieve "Africa’s full integration into the world economy."
"The time when only countries in the North could provide solutions to development problems is past," the German leader said. "We need a reliable policy to guarantee that Africa’s riches are used to benefit African populations."
President Bouteflika said the relationship between African countries and the G8 should be mutually beneficial and break completely with the aid-dominated thinking of the past.
Recalling that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) rests on the principle of African involvement, President Bouteflika said support from development partners and the international community is required for efforts to be truly effective, but that the priorities must be defined by Africans themselves.
President Bouteflika expressed hope that the Algiers meeting would stimulate further progress toward development goals; Africa may be the sole continent not to reach its Millennium targets by 2015.
Subscribe to our newsletter and get Magharebia's latest articles delivered to your inbox.