U.N. Panel Urged to Give Africans More Say

Holy See Addresses Economic and Social Council

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GENEVA, JULY 22, 2001 (Zenit.org).-Africans need to be included more in decisions regarding aid programs for their countries, if they are to be true protagonists of their future, a Vatican aide told the annual session of the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Commenting on the council´s «New African Initiative,» Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, head of the Vatican delegation, pointed out the importance of identifying «integrated initiatives … not only to avoid that duplication, which still characterizes so many international programs, but to ensure that all our efforts aim at participation and inclusion, and are achieved through a process that is inclusive.»

According to the archbishop, globalization «can generate great opportunities for creativity and initiative» in Africa.

«It makes many of the barriers of the past irrelevant,» he said last Wednesday. «However, globalization is driven by human persons; it is influenced by their decisions. It is not isolated from wider human aspirations. Globalization with inclusion can only be achieved by a conscious effort at solidarity.»

«Solidarity in the era of globalization requires a new concept of global citizenship, of global responsibility,» Archbishop Martin added.

«It is patently unfair to require the poorer countries to open their markets, while maintaining heavy protection on products in which they have comparative advantage,» the archbishop continued. «An open system based on free market and competition should be deeply concerned, even from its own internal logic, when it sees that Africa´s share of the world market is eroding.»

Given the above, therefore, only «comprehensive, inclusive programs, which are owned by the citizens of the developing countries, will achieve a development that is truly sustainable,» the archbishop added.

«We must invest in the people of Africa, and have confidence in the fact that they themselves are the first to desire peace, to desire a better and prosperous future for themselves and their families,» the Vatican representative concluded. «They are the ones who most desire a united and thriving continent.»

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