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Africa: Rich nations urged to ''revisit'' development policies

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ADDIS ABABA, 11 February (IRIN) - The head of the UN's Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has criticised the international community for often "undermining national development efforts".
Kingsley Amoako called on rich nations to "revisit their policies on aid, trade and debt" in order to reinforce their billion dollar development aid packages.

He urged the international community to re-think the annual US $300 billion subsidies for agriculture -- which is six times the total amount of aid to developing countries.

His statement, which was released by the ECA headquarters in Addis Ababa, came during a two-day conference on the social implications of globalisation in Africa.

Amoako said Africa was forced to export unprocessed goods because the tariffs are much lower -- depriving African countries from access to export markets.

"For every step in the processing chain that adds value, the duties rise sharply," he stated. "These tariff escalations undermine manufacturing and employment in industries where developing countries need to be competitive."

The huge drop in commodity prices has cost Africa over US $20 billion in the last three decades, he added.

Amoako also criticised aid packages which he said are often "donor-driven" rather than African-owned, and require literally thousands of time-consuming reports each year.

He added that the question of debt must also be rethought with fresh ideas on how to tackle the issue.

But, Amoako also said that Africa must meet its end of the bargain if the continent is to benefit from globalisation.

"Whether or not we should integrate with the world economy is a false choice," he said. "We must integrate. But we will reap far greater rewards from integration into the world economy if our own house is integrated first."

[ENDS]

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