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Developed Countries Called to Raise Aid to Low-income Countries
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A Chinese official called for developed countries in Washington Sunday to increase their aid to support low-income developing countries' efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


"The developed countries should make concrete efforts to raise the Official Development Assistance (ODA) levels to the target of 0.7 percent of gross national product," said Li Yong, vice minister of Ministry of Finance of China, in a statement at the 75th Development Committee Meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.


"We are glad to note the further progress towards MDGs achieved by the developing countries in 2006, and that poverty incidence declines somewhat in the low-income developing countries," Li said.


However, progress varies in different regions, he pointed out. The overall population of the poor hardly diminishes, while the Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia remains off the track of most MDGs.


"As the year of 2015 approaches, we are facing the huge challenge of achieving MDGs," he said.


Li stressed that ODA plays a key role in facilitating developing countries to achieve the MDGs.


In terms of the overall ODA volumes, the huge financing gaps still lie as the binding constraints for development, Li said. While debt reduction has enhanced the developing countries' capacity for self-development, its direct impact on fiscal revenue is limited.


In terms of the ODA flows, he said, the current tendency of the traditional donors' withdrawing from the infrastructure and productive sectors should be rectified, and more ODA resources should be shifted to infrastructure development and productive sectors, promoting growth and development in a more direct and effective way.


Li also said that with enhanced economic development and growth, some developing countries are participating more actively in the international cooperation to provide assistance to the extent possible to other developing countries, adding fresh vigor to the "South-South Cooperation."


"Being developing countries themselves, they help each other and form equal development partnerships," Li said. "We believe that all countries need to make continued and concerted efforts to promote global development."


(Xinhua News Agency April 16, 2007)

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