Chretien impressed by leaders

2002-04-13 09:35

Dakar - Canadian prime minister Jean Chretien on Friday said he was impressed by the determination of the African leaders he met on a trip that took him to six countries in 10 days.

Chretien, who chairs the G8 group of the seven most industrialized countries plus Russia, arrived late on Wednesday in Senegal, whose President Abdoulaye Wade is a main architect of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad).

During his visits to Morocco, Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia and Senegal, Chretien held discussions on Nepad, an ambitious plan to bring the African continent out of poverty.

It was "a very, very useful trip", the Canadian leader said before leaving Africa.

"I'm impressed by the determination and the cohesion and the unanimity of leaders... they take very seriously" Nepad and the measures needed to put it into effect.

Chretien said the African leaders "were talking about what is required to put Africa back on the agenda of the world and to create the proper climate for investments.

'Good governance essential'

"To have more investment, what is essential is good governance, respect of human rights, electoral discipline, peace, security, openness, elimination of corruption... and all problems that have affected Africa very negatively."

The Canadian leader on Friday joined G8 experts and their African counterparts for talks behind closed doors at a luxury hotel on the outskirts of Dakar.

Economic and other experts known as "sherpas" have been honing up Nepad ahead of a G8 summit in Canada in June, when the plan will be on the agenda and Africa will be seeking strong financial backing for its development initiatives.

The experts' meeting preludes an international conference on private sector finance to Nepad, which will bring several hundred people from the economic sector together in Dakar next Monday and Tuesday. - Sapa-AFP