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AU conflict resolution praised

24 January 2006 African leaders have been praised for their "relentless work" towards curbing internal conflicts on the continent. "Your continued efforts in peace building and conflict resolution have contributed to creating the necessary conditions for Africa's development," said Professor Firmino Gabriel Mucavele, the new chief executive of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad). Mucavele was presenting his progress report to the Nepad steering committee at a meeting of Nepad's implementation committee in Khartoum, Sudan on Monday. "We have witnessed the successful resolution of conflict in Cote d'Ivoire, ongoing efforts in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and successful elections in Tanzania, Liberia and Burundi," Mucavele said. Mucavele has succeeded Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu of South Africa, who stepped down in August 2005 after heading Nepad since its inception in 2001. Nepad projects Mucavele said that progress had been made in moving the continental programme from just "a concept" towards the implementation of a number projects in countries across Africa. Among these projects is the US$205-million Eastern Africa Submarine System (EASSy), a 9 900km-long undersea fibre-optic cable between South Africa and Sudan which will be online by the end of 2007. There is also the Nepad e-school initiative launched in Uganda, Lesotho and South Africa; as well as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) project, which has offered Ghana US$1.8-million for the fortification of wheat, flour and oil. Other projects include a $60-million fisheries seed grant from the World Bank, which will be used to help formalise and foster sustainable management of large marine ecosystems in selected countries, and an agri-business and market development enhancing programme that will cost an estimated $1-billion over a five years. The Japan International Cooperation Agency, in collaboration with the African Development Bank, has also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the development of much-needed infrastructure on the continent. More than 38 projects in various countries have already been commissioned, including a $40-million project in Angola for the rehabilitation of the Mocamedes railway. The African Development Bank has also committed $522.7-million for an infrastructure development project to kick-start from the first quarter of 2006. Africa Action Plan Mucavele said that Nepad had also made strides in strengthening its relationship with the international world, especially the G8 countries. Through its draft Africa Action Plan, Nepad had successfully engaged the G8 to deliver on their promises by pledging extra support for Africa's developmental initiatives, he said. The Africa Action Plan was born out of a consultative process involving African ministers of finance, the African Union, regional economic communities, experts, partner institutions and G8 partners. It is a framework for Nepad's implementation that includes "commitments already made by African leaders towards achieving their development objectives, as well as pledges of the international community, including the G8," Mucavele said. He said the plan would need about US$110-billion annually for the next 10 years if its objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals, were to be achieved. "African countries are already committing about $37-billion per year, and the private sector and African non-profit organisations are committing $30-billion per year," Mucavele said. Source: BuaNews

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