German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday promised to make African aid a key topic at the June summit of the Group of Eight (G8) industrial nations.
Speaking after a three-way meeting with Blair and former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Merkel, who will chair the upcoming G8 summit, said that she would urge rich countries to fulfill previous aid commitments to Africa made at the Gleneagles G8 summit in 2005.
At that summit rich nations promised to increase aid to Africa by US$50 billion and wipe out more than US$40 billion of debt owed by poor countries.
"We have made clear there will be continuity. We are going to take things up where Gleneagles ended," she said.
Stressing that rich nations need to do much more to help Africa, Blair said if the industrialized world did not take responsibility, their own interest would be undermined as result of poverty, conflict, mass migration and the spread of terrorism.
Annan, who currently chairs the Africa Progress Panel set up to monitor rich nations' progress in helping Africa, said that his panel would not urge for new promises from rich nations but for the implementation of previous pledges.
"Unless we step up our efforts ... we will not make the target," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency April 25, 2007)