Holy See Calls for New Partnership for Africa's Development

Stresses Need to Resolve Problem of External Debt

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NEW YORK, OCT. 20, 2003 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See appealed for new forms of solidarity for Africa, a continent marginalized in an age of globalization and burdened by foreign debts.

Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See before the United Nations, made the appeal Thursday when he addressed the plenary of the U.N.’s 58th General Assembly on Agenda Item 40a: “New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Progress in Implementation and International Support.”

“In the present world order, the African nations seem to be among the most disadvantaged,” the papal representative said.

“In the face of the current marginalization of Africa, we have a duty in solidarity to maintain the commitments we have collectively made to move forward with a new pattern of solidarity and cooperation between the wealthier nations and the peoples of Africa,” the archbishop added.

“This requires a rapid and definitive solution to the external debt overhanging African countries,” he stressed. “The sum total of African external debt is small by global standards. Hence, not only in terms of justice, but also of effective economic possibilities, the burden of external debt necessitates a comprehensive and expeditious solution.”

“This relief process should not drag on long under the yoke of technical and bureaucratic requirements,” Archbishop Migliore emphasized.

For “external trade to become an essential factor of African development, the international community should uphold and apply aptly the true values of trade by eliminating all types of unfair competition against African countries,” he said.

Voicing the hope of Africans on the world stage, the archbishop continued: “Africa needs to develop a family-based diversified agrarian economy, capable of responding to multiple challenges, such as excessive urban migration, lack of food security, welfare of the family and rural communities, protection of the environment, and greater economic growth.”

He concluded by appealing in the first place to Africans themselves: “Without peace in Africa, it is impossible to think of just structures of economic and social development.”

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