German Chancellor Merkel Discusses Ways To Maintain G8 Focus on Africa
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday met with the Africa Progress Panel to discuss ways of maintaining the Group of Eight industrialized nation's focus on Africa once Germany transfers the G8 presidency to Japan on Jan. 1, 2008, the AP/International Herald Tribune reports (AP/International Herald Tribune, 12/18).
G8 leaders at their summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, in June agreed to provide more than $60 billion to fight HIV/AIDS and address other issues in Africa. Part of the funding includes $6 billion to $8 billion for the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The communique also recommits to the aid pledges made during the 2005 G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, to increase aid to $50 billion annually by 2010. The final communique also includes the goal of providing five million HIV-positive people with drug access by 2010 (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/8).
Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who heads the Africa Progress Panel, said that Merkel is "one of the champions of Africa." He also praised Merkel for advocating for the implementation of international commitments to the continent. Annan said that Africa is "at a takeoff point" with "very positive things happening ... on the economic front." He added, "There are also new players on the ground in Africa who are making a difference, whether it's China or India, and we would want to see a situation where all those who share the mission ... of making Africa stable and prosperous pool their efforts to succeed." Merkel said she and the panel members will discuss "what advice we can support the Japanese presidency of the G-8 in order to maintain the momentum for Africa" (AP/International Herald Tribune, 12/18).