Developed countries have increased their aid to Africa?s agricultural sector, but they are taking the money back in the form of debt and other repayments while subsidizing their own agricultural exports to the detriment of the continent?s farmers, the Secretary-General?s Special Adviser on Africa said today.
Under-Secretary-General Ibrahim Gambari told journalists in New York that in the cotton trade alone, three countries ? Burkina Faso, Benin and Mali ? were losing some $11 billion because of European and North American subsidies for their own agricultural exports.
He called for greater policy coherence among Africa?s development partners, as well as better alignment of the UN?s work with the New Partnership for Africa?s Development (NEPAD).
Later this week, in the margins of the General Assembly, Mr. Annan?s high-level advisory panel on support for NEPAD would meet, Mr. Gambari said.
He pointed out that reports on the tragic events in Sudan, Liberia and Côte d?Ivoire have not allowed space for positive coverage of the continent, including the efforts of the countries themselves to move forward.
Offering context, he said that while 11 countries had been embroiled in civil conflict in 1998, when the UN?s first report on the matter had come out, by now ?only a few states were involved in armed conflict? ? Côte d?Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Liberia and perhaps Burundi.
The peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone was being drawn down in recognition that developments in that West African country were going fairly well, Mr. Gambari said.