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Zambian President Says MDGs Targets 'Achievable'

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa said Thursday the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were " achievable" although records indicated that Zambia has not yet made much progress on all the targets, the official Zambia News Agency (ZANA) reported.


"In Zambia, we see the next decade as a breakthrough. We are encouraged by the promise of total debt relief arising from our reaching the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) completion point in April this year," Mwanawasa said when he addressed the General Assembly's session on the review of the MDGs at the UN headquarters in New York.


He told the gathering of world leaders that reaching the HIPC completion point has raised prospects of satisfying some of the MDGs by 2015.


Mwanawasa said Zambia welcomed and supported recent efforts aimed at providing more resources for development including the debt relief advanced to poor countries and total debt cancellation announced by the Group of Eight (G8) countries.


The president said the country's determination and resolve to achieve part of the MDGs was based on the positive growth in agriculture in the past two years.


He said that there has been an increase in real GDP growth in the agriculture sector from 4.5 percent in 2003 to 7.5 percent in 2004.


As to social sector, the president said the country has made some notable achievements both in education and health but is still facing some challenges such as inadequate education infrastructure and rampant HIV/AIDS.


"HIV/AIDS remains a major obstacle in the development process as most of our human resource base is being depleted," the president was cited by the ZANA as saying.


He also said the Zambian government has declared zero tolerance to corruption and would like to see greater support from the international community in the collaborative work required to make such a program succeed.


He then called for collaborative efforts between the developed nations and the third world countries to accelerate global development.


(Xinhua News Agency September 16, 2005)


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