ABB Ltd, the Swiss-based power and automation technology provider, continues to see Thailand as a promising country in the region and aims to increase its annual sales revenue here by at least 10%, according to president Fred Kindle. ''Thailand has the potential to grow 6% in the longer term. The only question now is when it will happen again?'' said Mr Kindle, who is also the chief executive.
Increasing private consumption and positive thinking about the country's future would help the company realise its goal, he said.
ABB's global sales revenue increased by 20% to US$26 billion last year, double its growth rate in Thailand.
''We continue to do that (maintaining a growth rate at 10% per year),'' said Mr Kindle.
Despite the bid for independent power producer (IPP) projects scheduled for late this year and the steady expansion of the petrochemical and automotive industries, it is difficult to predict the growth rate of ABB's business in Thailand next year, said Mr Kindle.
The main reason for the uncertainty is the fact that the company's growth in Thailand depends not only on domestic growth rates, but also opportunities in neighbouring countries, including Laos and Cambodia, which are under the supervision of ABB's Thai operation.
He said ABB's head office in Zurich was very decisive about its business development in Laos and Cambodia.
Currently, ABB provides Siam Cement Group with technological support for its petrochemical project in southern Vietnam as well, said Mr Kindle.
''Thailand will continue to be ABB's hub in the region because Bangkok is very competitive (in terms of the business environment).''
Chaiyot Piyawannarat, president and country manager for ABB in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, said Cambodia utilised 300 megawatts of electricity now and consumption would expand by 10-15% in the future as a result of a rapid increase in the number of real-estate development projects and the planned IPP development programme.
ABB business in Laos is also expanding because Vientiane plans more hydropower plants, said Mr Chaiyot.
Nevertheless, the combined sales revenue in Laos and Cambodia is less than 10% of ABB's turnover from its operation in Thailand at present.
ABB has divested non-core businesses such as transport and insurance in order to focus on its strengths in power and automation since the late 1990s.
After selling its upstream oil-and-gas companies, including Vetco Gray in 2004, it expects to complete the sale of its downstream oil-and-gas business, Lummus Global, this year.
Mr Kindle said ABB's divestment policy would not have a significant impact on overall financial performance because the challenge of ABB's business today did not lie in restructuring but rather in how to sustain its growth rate. Read more!
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Posted by jeyjomnou at 3:46 PM
LONG BEACH - After lengthy discussion and several public comments, the City Council voted 8-1 to designate the stretch of Anaheim Street between Junipero Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard as Cambodia Town.
The area houses many Cambodian businesses, and Long Beach is home to about 17,000 Cambodian-Americans, according to the city.
The council, with Councilman Patrick O'Donnell of the 4th District dissenting, approved the cultural designation and strongly urged the businesses to create a business improvement district.
"This is a historical date for us," said Danny Vong, an Anaheim Street property owner.
The BID, which would consist of area businesses and property owners, would generate funds and decide on issues such as security, graffiti removal and sidewalk repair.
Until a BID is in place, the community will not receive any funds from the city.
After the proposal was introduced in October 2006, the Housing and Neighborhoods Committee commissioned a survey that examined responses from property and business owners within the area.
With 27.4 percent of the 387 mailed surveys completed, the survey found that more than 90 percent of respondents were in favor of designating the area as Cambodia Town. They also indicated on the survey that they were willing to pay an annual fee of as much as $100.
O'Donnell and 8th District Councilwoman Rae Gabelich voiced their concerns on funding if the city officially created a Cambodia Town without also creating a BID.
"I believe it's critical to have a BID in place before designation. ... You don't want this to be a second thought and only successful for some," Gabelich said.
Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal of the 1st District said she was not concerned about the impact on general funds.
"The Cambodian New Years' Parade was a huge success without any impact to general funds," she said.
Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal of the 2nd District said requiring a BID first would be unprecedented.
"What they've come to us for is the acknowledgment of their years of commitment to this city and a designation that will allow them to celebrate and market this area," she said.
However, a substitute motion to delay the Cambodia Town designation pending the creation of a BID was rejected.
"They came here from Cambodia looking for hope and freedom, and they got that tonight," said 6th District Councilman Dee Andrews.
The council also unanimously approved naming the new community center as Admiral Kidd Park, 2125 Santa Fe Ave., as "Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald Community Center."
Memorabilia given by the late Democratic Congresswoman's family will also be displayed at the site. Millender-McDonald died on April 21 after serving as a representative of the Long Beach area for more than a decade.
Harvey Cochran had urged the council to approve the name.
"Putting a name on a building simply isn't enough," he said. "It's going to be a really great display and I'm looking forward to it."
The skate park proposal was taken off Tuesday's agenda and will come back later because a number of 5th District youth council members were unable to attend the meeting as a result of Fourth of July.
"The kids started the process together, and they deserve to finish the process together," said 5th District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske in a written statement.
Schipske had presented six suggestions in the proposal in hopes that the park will treat skateboarding as a sport, discouraging youth from negative activity.
The suggestions were to do away with helmet and pad requirements and $200 citations and improving the quality of signs to let skaters know they're skating at their own risk, among other suggestions.
The current proposal pertains only to El Dorado Park West, but the parks commission could decide to include other skate parks in Long Beach, such as Houghton, Drake and 14th Street. Read more!
Posted by jeyjomnou at 3:37 PM
BANGKOK, Thailand will send health officials and medical equipment to help neighboring Cambodia to contain dengue fever after the number of dengue fever cases there was recorded at nearly 10,000 in June.
The Cambodian government requested Thailand's assistance to contain dengue fever there after the spreading disease officially became a crisis when the death toll last month was reported at 132,a five-fold increase over the previous month, Thawat Suntrajarn, director-general of the Public Health Ministry's Disease Control Department said Wednesday.
Thai Public Health Minister Mongkol Na Songkhla has been assigned by Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont to lead teams of specialists and carry medical equipment to Cambodia on Thursday.
Medical equipment will be sent to Cambodia by aircraft of the Royal Thai Airforce. The Thai medical teams will treat Cambodian patients and update Cambodian medical staff on new procedures of preventing and containing dengue fever outbreaks. Read more!
Posted by jeyjomnou at 3:23 PM
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP): A New Zealander convicted of raping five Cambodian girls appealed the ruling Wednesday, and the judge will announce his verdict next week, a defense attorney said.
Graham Cleghorn, 60, pleaded his innocence at a closed-door session in the Appeals Court, seeking to overturn a 20-year prison sentence handed down against him by a provincial court in 2004, defense attorney Nou Tep Thearith said.
The presiding judge, Thou Muny, said the court's decision to uphold or overturn that ruling will be announced next Tuesday, Nou Tep Thearith said.
He said more evidence was presented to the court that would prove his client's innocence, but he declined to elaborate.
"I think the trial was fair. The judge gave me plenty of chances to speak,'' Cleghorn said outside the courtroom after the hearing. "The judges asked good questions of the complainants, so I think it was fair.''
He said he didn't know which way the verdict would go but that the court has heard enough evidence to conclude he is innocent.
Cleghorn, from Wellington, was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2004 for raping five girls at his home in Siem Reap province, 230 kilometers (143 miles) northwest of the capital, Phnom Penh. The girls' ages have not been disclosed.
He moved to Cambodia in the late 1980s and worked in Siem Reap as a tourist guide. His Cambodian wife, Bout Toeur, was convicted of conspiring to collude in the rapes. She received a three-year suspended sentence.
The girls worked as maids at Cleghorn's house.
Cleghorn maintained in an earlier statement that he was framed by the Cambodian Women Crisis Center, a nonprofit group, which has provided shelters and legal counseling to the girls. Read more!
Posted by jeyjomnou at 3:21 PM
By Rory Byrne
03 July 2007
Soaring property prices have resulted in an explosion of land-grabbing in Cambodia, leaving tens of thousands of people destitute. A recent United Nations report accuses the Cambodian authorities of allowing a wealthy elite to illegally grab land, but the government denies the accusation and says it is trying to stop the practice. Rory Byrne reports from Phnom Penh.
The report by the U.N.'s Rapporteur on Human Rights in Cambodia says that land-grabbing has "a devastating impact" on the poor. It says that almost 15 percent of the land in Cambodia is now owned by a tiny elite.
The roots of the problem can be traced back to the Khmer Rouge, who ended private land ownership in the late 1970s. After the Khmer Rouge were ousted in 1979, many people settled on land without having title to it. Disputes arose when the economy started growing and land became valuable. Rights activists and small farmers say developers and influential Cambodians are ousting poor people from land they have lived on for decades.
The government says many disputes arise because the poor sell their land and then illegally occupy state-owned or private property. Chum Bun Rong is head of land-dispute resolution at Cambodia's National Land Authority.
"They have a problem of a lack of money for spending so they have to sell their land and after that they become, you see, the squatter," said Rong. "They live somewhere - sometimes they live on public land. They stay, or build houses, along the sidewalks or the roads, the main road in the city sometimes, but those lands belong to the state."
Yeng Virek is the executive director of the Community Legal Education Center, which provides legal aid to victims of land-grabbing. He says the government, which sometimes expels people from the land they live on, ignores the rights of the poor in the interests of development:
"Sometimes the authorities just claim the area as state property, or they need the area for beautification of the city, for example, and, on that ground, they evict people," he said.
The government set up a commission to settle land disputes, but critics say it is mired in bureaucracy and corruption. Unregulated development is bad for Cambodia says Kek Galabru, who heads the local human rights group, Licadho.
"I understand that the government would like to develop the country but [to] develop a country you have to do [it] in a manner that everyone is happy - not only the company [are] happy and poor people, vulnerable people, are unhappy," said Galabru. "So that kind of development I think is very dangerous for the country."
Prime Minister Hun Sen has repeatedly warned against land-grabbing, but Kek Galabru says there has been little improvement:
"When you listen to the statement[s] of the government, especially of [the] Prime Minister, it seems that he understand[s] the importance of the issue because he always threat[ens] his ministers saying, 'if you don't solve this problem, it will be a big problem in Cambodia - maybe we are going to have instability' - he said, but I don't know why it didn't work," he said. "Where is the obstacle? What level? As it's not transparent, we don't know why the national authority cannot solve the problem."
Dispossessed families are often moved to makeshift camps, many without clean water, sanitation or medical facilities. Kek Galabru says losing their land leaves people unable to feed their families.
"Eighty percent of Cambodian people, they live in the rural area and they rely on the land for agriculture, so if you take the land from them it means they have no way to solve the problem of living," sadi Galabru. "Without land, you condemn them to a death."
Andouang is a relocation camp about 20 kilometers from Phnom Penh. It houses about 1,200 families evicted from Sambok Chap, on Phnom Penh's riverside. Most are still waiting for new plots they were promised last year. Conditions at the camp are bad, with bamboo or plastic-sheeting providing little shelter from the monsoon rains. Some residents suffer from malnutrition and disease.
"Living conditions are very bad because I have no way of making money here for my family - I have four children," said Sony, who has been living at the camp for over a year. "My husband has disappeared and has not come back for me. I have no proper shelter - only a plastic sheet, and no income at all."
Denty came to Andouang with his wife and baby last year. After losing his home, Denty lost his job because he cannot afford the cost of traveling to work.
"Living conditions are terrible. I got very sick after I came here - my wife is sick also - and I was not able to work construction any more," he said. "When I came here we had no proper shelter - only a plastic sheet - and we could not get adequate medical treatment. My wife could not give breast milk to our baby anymore, and I didn't have any money to buy milk to feed the baby."
The government says it is doing what it can to settle land disputes and to help the landless. But officials say they need foreign aid to help prepare land titles and create a computer system to maintain records.
Kek Galabru says that political will is needed if the issue of land-grabbing is to be solved.
"First of all, strong political will from all the leaders, all the ones who have the power to solve the problem. And then, second point, I think we have to empower the existing institution[s]. And implement the land law. Another thing also - the problem of [the] judiciary," he said. "The judicial system is really weak, not independent, so drastic reform of that judiciary is also very important."
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Hun Sen told aid donors he would take steps to distribute illegally seized lands to the landless and to help with titling. But with Cambodia's economy expanding at about 10 percent a year, the value of land will continue to rise. Experts say that, without strong measures to prevent it, the problem will continue to grow. Read more!
Posted by jeyjomnou at 1:08 AM
HA NOI — Vietnamese and Cambodian companies have inked a deal to explore mining possibilities in Cambodia over the next few years.
Viet Nam’s Coal and Mineral Industries Group and Cambodia’s Try Pheap Mining and Mom Good Luck Mining signed the deal yesterday.
As per the contract, the three firms will conduct two years of research in Stung Streng Province’s Thalabori Vat District and Anlong Chey and Anlong Phe regions. They will use the results as the basis for mining exploration in the region. Read more!
Posted by jeyjomnou at 12:59 AM
From front, villagers in Phnom Penh: Sev Phem, 35; Romas Fil, 45; Sev Noch, 50; Sev Kem, 19; Sev Thveal, 23. They traveled to the capital in a failed attempt to get government officials to intercede in a land dispute. (By Erika Kinetz For The Washington Post)
By Erika Kinetz
Special to the Washington Post
Wednesday, July 4, 2007; Page D01
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- His grandmother's bones went missing two years ago, not long after the rains stopped. "The grave is all rubber trees" now, said Sev Thveal, 23. Part of the Jarai minority, he can barely read and write and has worked the land so long that his toenails are a permanent shade of brown.
He and 11 villagers are alleging in court that a wealthy businesswoman named Keat Kolney, whose husband and brother are senior figures in the Cambodian government, has illegally taken land belonging to 70 rural families to make way for a rubber plantation.
Keat Kolney declined to comment, hanging up when reached by telephone. But she denies the claims of wrongdoing, said her lawyer, Chhe Vibol, and is responding with legal action of her own.
The dispute is unfolding as Cambodia struggles to emerge from three decades of genocide and civil war. Now, the Southeast Asian country is trying to move beyond its thuggish past and build a society founded on the rule of law rather than networks of patronage.
Cambodia joined the World Trade Organization in 2004, and the government, which recently got its first sovereign debt ratings from Standard & Poor's and Moody's, plans to open domestic stock and bond markets as early as 2009. Government leaders cite these moves as proof of major progress, but human rights workers and many ordinary Cambodians say little has changed.
"A wealthy and powerful social class has emerged on the back of the state -- through the exploitation of the people and the country's resources," Yash Ghai, the U.N. secretary general's special representative for human rights in Cambodia, said in prepared remarks to the United Nations' Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Global Witness, a British advocacy group that served as Cambodia's forest monitor until it was expelled from the country in 2005, made similar charges in a recent report, saying a "kleptocratic elite" has been stripping Cambodia of its natural resources.
"In Cambodia's civil war, the warring factions used the country's natural resources as a means of generating income to fuel their military spending," Eleanor Nichol, a Global Witness campaigner, wrote in an e-mail from Washington. "Since then, Cambodia's political elite have found it hard to kick the habit of using the country's natural resources as their own personal cash cow."
Accusations from Global Witness enraged Cambodian officials, who denied wrongdoing and dismissed the report as politically motivated. The government banned the report's domestic dissemination -- an ineffective gesture as the document is freely available online -- and promised to launch its own investigation.
Despite booming economic growth, Cambodia is still heavily dependent on donor aid. When donors sat down in Phnom Penh on June 19 and 20 and committed to deliver $689 million, the Cambodian delegation included two men who Sev Thveal contends have the power to put his dead grandmother to rest.
They were Keat Kolney's older brother, Keat Chhon, who is the country's finance minister; and her husband, Chhan Saphan, one of the most powerful officials in the Ministry of Land Management.
Chhan Saphan declined an interview request, and Keat Chhon didn't respond to requests for comment.
Sev Thveal and his fellow villagers say that in 2004, Keat Kolney bribed numerous local officials with cash to help trick and bully the villagers into signing away close to 1,100 acres of their most fertile farmland.
Villagers contend that local officials threw a party for them, serving beer, traditional rice wine and pork. When villagers became drunk, officials took their thumbprints. Some of Keat Kolney's cash went to the villagers, the lawsuit contends, but they say they didn't realize what they were being paid for.
The plaintiffs say they thought they were signing over only about 125 acres to disabled soldiers from a group affiliated with Cambodia's prime minister, Hun Sen. But soon bulldozers arrived and cut through about 665 acres of cashew trees, rice paddies and vegetable gardens to make way for a vast rubber plantation. Villagers say they've lost 60 percent of their arable land and have not seen a single disabled soldier.
Now they want their land back. Chhe Vibol, the lawyer, says it's too late. "Rubber trees have already been planted on more than 200 hectares," or about 500 acres, he said. "Giving all the land back is impossible."
On June 21, Keat Kolney filed criminal lawsuits against the villagers and their lawyers, according to Chhe Vibol. She has also lodged a formal complaint with the Cambodian bar association, contending that lawyers working for two legal aid groups advising the plaintiffs have fallen under the sway of foreigners.
"We purchased the land legally," Chhe Vibol said.
Last month, villagers traveled from Ratanakiri, a remote province in northeastern Cambodia, to the capital Phnom Penh, where they visited the Ministry of Economy and Finance and made daily pilgrimages to the Ministry of Land Management, hoping to secure audiences with Keat Kolney's powerful relations and persuade them to intercede.
They had no luck. Now they're back home in Ratanakiri, hoping the imperfect wheels of Cambodian justice will turn in their favor. Ith Mathoura, one of their lawyers, says that's unlikely. Cambodia's notoriously corrupt judiciary, she says, almost always serves the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor.
"The land problem is everywhere in Cambodia," said Brian Rohan, an American attorney working as a legal adviser at the Community Legal Education Center, which is helping represent the villagers. "There is a lot of land-grabbing because the value of land is going up, stability has returned, and there is a lot of economic activity."
The case, he added, is "a powerful symbol for whether the Cambodian government is committed to implementing any of the policies it professes to support during its conversations with donors."
Government spokesman Khieu Kanharith declined to comment on the litigation between Keat Kolney and the villagers but warned against jumping to conclusions. "A few trees do not constitute a forest. What is most important is the political will of the government to establish the rule of law," he said.
He points to Cambodia's WTO entry, an arduous process that has required writing or rewriting many laws, as evidence of that commitment. "Our main concern is to make our law reach international standards. Sure, from paper to practice, there will be a gap, but at least the government is laying the ground for the rule of law," he said.
Now many are asking: How far has Cambodia actually come?
"There is clearly a grievous problem in this country with illegal logging and land-grabbing," U.S. Ambassador Joseph Mussomeli said in an interview. "No one with any credibility can deny that. The prime minister has admitted as much himself."
But Mussomeli added that he was not aware of evidence that would substantiate all the allegations Global Witness made against high-ranking officials.
"We believe there are those high in the government who are concerned about this and working hard to counter illegal logging," Mussomeli said. "It's not a totalitarian regime."
Meanwhile, villager Sev Thveal has a more immediate problem: his dead grandmother.
His family hasn't been able to appease her spirit with a proper buffalo sacrifice, he said. Because his farm got bulldozed, he has had to start buying rice to eat and doesn't have any extra money.
"I used to visit the burial ground of my grandmother every day of every month of every year," Sev Thveal said. "Now her spirit maybe just goes everywhere. She's homeless.
Posted by jeyjomnou at 12:39 AM
Economic and Social Council hears National Voluntary Presentations by Ethiopia, Ghana, Cambodia, Cape Verde
GENEVA, 3 July (UN Information Service) -- The Economic and Social Council this afternoon heard National Voluntary Presentations by Ethiopia, Ghana, Cambodia and Cape Verde on progress in implementing their national development strategies towards the achievement of internationally agreed development goals and the Millennium Development Goals.
Ato Mekonnen Manyazewal, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia, said that since the early 90s, Ethiopia’s overall development policy was to fight poverty and ultimately eradicate it. The heart of the matter was the pillar strategy leading the way out of poverty. The first pillar was building capacity at district and regional levels. The second pillar was on the empowerment of women. Human development, education and health were also critical. On health, vaccinations were most important for child health and positive progress could be seen there. Capacity-building for the implementation of programmes was also an important challenge. Ethiopia had made significant improvements in the business and investment climate.
George Gyan-Baffour, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Ghana, said that the country had launched a recovery programme. Despite progress made, the economy basically remained the same. This placed severe limitations on Ghana’s capacity to address poverty in the country. Food security had improved. On child nutrition, all the indicators were pointing in the right direction. Ghana had developed a growth and poverty reduction strategy. The strategy anchored on four main pillars, including continued macroeconomic stability, private sector competitions and civil responsibility among others. The priority areas were on agriculture modernization and on closing the infrastructure gap. On health, high quality intervention and services were sustained. Achieving an accelerated growth would require massive investments in priority sectors of the economy.
Chhay Than, Senior Minister for Planning of Cambodia, said during the last eight years, Cambodia and its people had enjoyed the benefit of peace, political stability and economic growth. Stability and enhanced security had contributed to Cambodia’s growth, and the Government had embarked on reform in certain frameworks. The average per capita income had almost doubled from 2000 to 2003. Inflation had been low. The Government wished to have a consistent and effective legal framework, responsive to the needs of the country and its people and promoting economic growth. The Government highly valued its development partners for supporting the work of Cambodia in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Its long-term aim was to free Cambodia from poverty and disease, with all living together in peace and harmony, without discrimination based on gender or religion.
Victor Borges, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde, said with regards to the reduction of poverty and food insecurity in that country, he was not convinced that these issues could be micro-discussed. Cape Verde was a small country in Western Africa, but was a country, which had to be seen and analysed as an island nation. Cape Verde had a great deal of vulnerability, and had to face vulnerabilities on a number of levels, environmental, economic, and in terms of security. Only 10 per cent of the territory was available as arable land; rainfall was insufficient, irregular and unpredictable, making farming a difficult activity. Good governance also led to commitment to the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals. Cape Verde had put a range of tools in place to implement these. There was a structural food deficit in Cape Verde due to a lack of local food production. Some of the Millennium Development Goals had already been achieved such as education, infant mortality and health.
Within the context of the interactive dialogue on the National Voluntary Presentations by Ethiopia, Ghana, Cambodia and Cape Verde, representatives of the following States and organizations took the floor: Benin, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Economic Commission for Africa, Philippines, Brazil, United Kingdom, Germany, Pakistan, Guinea, Cambodia, Japan, Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific, Office of the High Representative for Landlocked and Least-developed Countries, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Namibia, South Africa, Netherlands, Barbados, United States and Portugal.
At the beginning of the meeting, the Minister of Economy of Belarus, Nikolai Zaichenko, spoke because he had to leave Geneva and would not be able to address the Council during the general discussion on the Annual Ministerial Review, taking place on Wednesday, 4 July.
Mr. Zaichenko said that the main goal of the policy of Belarus was ensuring sustainable growth in the qualitative life of the public, and to develop human potential. The economic policy of the country aimed to minimise such trends as unemployment, social and property-based stratification, and other difficulties. The basis of the growth in material prosperity was the increase in GDP. There was a low level of differentiation of the population in terms of incomes. Belarus had one of the lowest poverty gap ratios. The labour market was controlled, and unemployment was at a low level.
The Council is scheduled to reconvene on Wednesday, 4 July at 9:30 a.m., when it will start the general debate on the Annual Ministerial Review, which will conclude with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration.
Statement by Minister for Economy of Belarus
NIKOLAI P. ZAICHENKO, Minister of Economy of Belarus, in the context of the general discussion on the Annual Ministerial Review that will start on 4 July, said with regard to the issues that the Council was discussing, the main goal of the policy of Belarus was ensuring sustainable growth in the qualitative life of the public, and to develop human potential. The economic policy of the country aimed to minimise such trends as unemployment, social and property-based stratification, and other difficulties. The measures adopted by the Government had made it possible to ensure dynamic growth in many fields, including the value of income, and a reduction of the level of disadvantage and poverty.
The basis of the growth in material prosperity was the increase in GDP. There was a low level of differentiation of the population in terms of income. Belarus had one of the lowest poverty gap ratios. The basic minimum wage worked as a social guarantee. The labour market was controlled, and unemployment was at a low level. At the same time, there were concerns connected with the ongoing tensions on the labour market, in particular in rural areas and small towns. The Government had a programme for development of these areas, focusing largely on ensuring employment therein. There were new approaches for solving these problems on the basis of developing entrepreneurship and small- and medium-sized enterprises. It was developing the former that was the key in terms of reducing poverty and the key factor in ensuring sustainable economic growth.
Discussion on National Voluntary Presentation by Ethiopia
ATO MEKONNEN MANYAZEWAL, State Minister for Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia, said that the outline of the presentation would be on the national development framework and how the Millennium Development Goals were integrated in it. Since the early 90s, Ethiopia’s overall development policy was to fight poverty and ultimately eradicate it. All of the sector policies and programmes were informed of this overriding goal. The current five-year plan had at its core the poverty eradication objective and integrating it within the national framework of the Millennium Development Goals. A ten-year assessment was taken. The heart of the matter was the pillar strategy leading the way out of poverty. The first pillar was building capacity at district and regional levels. The private sector had so far limited capacity so it had to be built up. Redistribution did not work so growth was needed to enlarge the cake. The source of the growth had to be agricultural and rural development.
There had been a reduction in the population growth, Mr. Manyazewal said. The momentum was already there and early-on actions needed to be taken, like improving family planning, education and health care. The second pillar was concerned the empowerment of women. The country could not achieve the Millennium Development Goals without addressing the issue of women. There was an infrastructure deficit, which needed to be changed to attract foreign investments. Human development, education and health were also critical. It was important to take into account the risks of the implementation of the growth agenda, such as trade being connected to the external environment. Taking all those pillars together was important. They reinforced each other. The five-year plan required the equivalent of $ 5 billion. Available funds would be used first to finance the programmes. GDP and per capita income had been accelerating. A major part of the public spending went to the poor. Ethiopia was trying to mobilize internal resources. Exports were growing but the trade imbalance was still large. Key poverty outcomes had been quite rapid. The poverty head count had been declining.
The food poverty count had also decreased from 42 to 35 per cent, the Minister said. On health, vaccinations were most important for child health and positive progress could be seen there. Malaria nets had been distributed. Family planning access was also being focused on. Some trends required a change of rate to meet the Millennium Development Goals. A monitoring system was needed at a national level and sectorally. With regard to the challenges, the rate of progress needed to be accelerated. The different regional states had also different growth rates. Capacity building for the implementation of programmes was also an important challenge. Concerning the opportunities, there were institutional frameworks helping to coordinate actions in different regions. The commitment of the G8 was an opportunity. But progress to realizing this commitment needed further realization. Ethiopia felt that growth was essential and should be broad-based. Infrastructure was important as well as investments in human capital and health. Ethiopia intended to use the opportunities offered to it. But the focus lay on building capacity for trade. Ethiopia had made significant improvements in the business and investment climate. Mostly, women had benefited from it. Ensuring gender equity was central to the country. It was important to have a state transformation policy to a low level administration.
JAMES RUBIN, Moderator of the Discussion and World Affairs Commentator at Sky News, said all had heard about the extent to which the environment, governance and other issues affected poverty, but not the extent to which security affected poverty in Ethiopia. A lot of the country’s operations had gone towards technology and military efforts, and this had an undeniable effect on ability to take care of citizens, or the ability to promote investment in the country. Could the Minister suggest the extent to which aid was not as important as security conditions, the Moderator asked?
FERNANDE A. HOUMGBEDJI ( Benin) said her country wanted to ask about the regional aspect. The regional dimension had an impact on national policies. How was this regional dimension taken into account in the national policies of Ethiopia?
ALFREDO CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) said the Minister’s statement shed interesting and instructive light on the efforts that the Government of Ethiopia was making to eradicate poverty. Any responsible Government worthy of the name needed to work to ensure not only to eradicate poverty, but that the people should be given the possibility of hoping for and aspiring to a better future. The positive experiences that were of benefit to a given country could be imitated elsewhere, and this should be borne in mind. Ethiopia was frequently affected by a cycle of famine, due to drought, and the Minister should clarify what measures were taken in this respect, as poverty could not be fought without taking into consideration other related measures. The climate could not be controlled, but there should be a certain level of food sufficiency, which was essential to ensure that people could actually live. Thus, what measures had been taken to meet the need for a certain level of food sufficiency, given the situation that affected this part of Africa? The political situation was also of importance, and the Government was obliged to focus on other tasks than those involved in poverty alleviation.
JEAN GABRIEL RANDRIANARISON ( Madagascar) said on the high-level growth in the gross domestic product, what sectors were involved and produced this growth. What was the tax level in comparison to gross domestic product (GDP)? A question was also raised on the topic of redistribution.
ABDOULIE JANNEH, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said Ethiopia was indeed a success story. The key drivers for this impressive recovery on growth were several: Ethiopia maintained some continuity in the policy agenda; the focus on national ownership; the area of capacity-building; official development aid, which was the lowest in Africa on a per-head basis; the area of the diaspora, which was playing a very active role; and Ethiopia’s skilful management of new international relationships, such as with China. Ethiopia was making progress. For this to continue, in addition to national efforts, international cooperation was essential, and should continue in the near future. The international community should realise that success in Ethiopia was critical, and should resist the temptation to jeopardise this in the face of temporary difficulties.
ROMULO NERI ( Philippines) said that the presentation of Ethiopia showed some examples of knowledge transfers. He expressed his frustration on some points. Technology transfer was more important than money.
Mr. MANYAZEWAL, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia, responding, said that most of the questions had focused on the subregion. On the issue of security, this certainly had an impact. Ethiopia had made it clear it had one battle to fight, and that was poverty. It would not raise its arms and knock on the doors of others. It had always tried to defend itself - it had never in its history been the aggressor. Ethiopia was investing in its roads, health facilities, and others, and was working to protect its assets and the security of its citizens. It used its diplomatic channels to discuss such issues as conflict prevention. Its defence budget was about 2.5 per cent of GDP, and this was about average. It had been fixed for the last few years. As much as possible, Ethiopia worked to protect its resources.
There was a need to inject technology, to provide knowledge on many levels, and Ethiopia deployed development agents in every village. There were farmer training centres in every village. There were many areas that were vulnerable, and the Government had developed a five-year plan, the Productive Safety Net. It built community assets, and rehabilitated the environment, and this was showing results. School and health centre construction also contributed to grow. There was a need to enhance the income derived from taxes.
Discussion on National Voluntary Presentation of Ghana
GEORGE GYAN-BAFFOUR, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning of Ghana, said that he wanted to speak first about Ghana’s medium-term Development Policy Framework. The country had launched a recovery programme. Despite progress made, the economy basically remained the same. Economic growth remained stagnant below 5 per cent. This placed severe limitations on Ghana’s capacity to address poverty in the country. The strategy treated the Millennium Development Goals as long-term minimum objectives for socio-economic development. There was a widened fiscal space between 2000 and 2006. Bank lending rates declined from 47 per cent to 22 per cent. Significant contributions to growth enabled the GDP to grow from 3.7 per cent to 6.2 per cent. Comparing the poverty rate in Ghana and those from Sub Saharan Africa, Ghana was below the Sub Saharan outreach. Food security had improved. On child nutrition, all the indicators were pointing in the right direction.
Ghana had developed a growth and poverty reduction strategy, the Minister said. The emphasis was on growth. The strategy anchored on four main pillars, including continued macroeconomic stability, private sector competitions and civil responsibility. The priority areas were on agriculture modernization and on closing the infrastructure gap. Science and education should be increased at all levels, with particular focus on the education of girls. On health, high quality intervention and services were sustained. The challenge was the attainment of a minimum GDP growth of 8 per cent. There were investment requirements. Ghana wanted to strengthen its partnership with the development partners. An increase in donor support was expected. Achieving an accelerated growth would require massive investments in priority sectors of the economy.
Mr. RUBIN, Moderator, said he felt compelled to add that the report had gone in great detail into the economic evolution of the country. In a brief off-the-cuff remark at the end, the Minister had said the most important thing: that there were countries that were far worse than Ghana with regards to corruption and transparency, and which had not struggled as Ghana had, and yet, on a per capita basis and official development aid, those countries were getting all the money! The developed world did not wish to talk about aid, nor about the Millennium Development Goals with regards to aid, but somebody in the room should explain how this Ghana paradox could be prevented in the future, so that progress was not deterred.
MARCIA HELENA CARVALHO LOPES ( Brazil) said that with regards to studies on social policies, results were only achieved when social programmes were taking place on a permanent basis. It was not possible to provide these services in all homes with due universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States. Brazil had a single health care system. National standards were regulating this and other programmes and public services. What was most important was the establishment of institutional models to tackle inequality around the world.
In 2006, Brazil approved a law on food security. It was the State’s obligation to guarantee these rights. Beyond the financial resources, infrastructure needed to be provided to the agenda as well as secure and comprehensive social secure services. It was important in this regard for all countries to build management policies eradicating poverty and hunger.
ALISTAIR FERNIE ( United Kingdom) said the United Kingdom was conscious that it was important in these discussions to allow developing countries to speak, but as the Moderator kept on implying that developed countries had nothing to say, the United Kingdom wished to show that this was not the case. With regards to all four presentations that had been heard so far, all of which received substantial and well-targeted aid from the United Kingdom, global allocation for aid would perhaps be better discussed elsewhere. It was well established that multilateral aid organizations were more likely to have carefully-thought through models for how they allocated aid to countries. Most countries had a slightly more idiosyncratic approach, often influenced by history and geography. The United Kingdom had tried to question these assumptions over the last 10 years, and had worked on how to allocate its aid on the margins to lift more people out of poverty.
An important factor to be taken into account was also public opinion with regards to which countries and which programmes should receive bilateral aid. There were difficult choices that had to be made, and several speakers had said that the international community underrated certain types of countries, including low performers. There was definitely scope for discussions on this, and the international community as a whole could consider how the totality of aid was allocated, and the United Kingdom would be happy to contribute to this discussion.
Mr. CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) said his country was impressed by the presentation of Ghana. It was remarkable because the statistics showed the enormous headway that had been made in a short period of time. The Minister from Ghana also highlighted the merits of a market-based economy. Ghana was in many ways a flagship for Africa. Its economy had been opened up and turned into a liberal economy. Investment could thus yield results for all those who needed so, such as the poor of the country. Efforts needed to be made so that the national resources could be redistributed equitably with as much transparency as possible.
Transforming an agricultural-based economy was an immense task. The deficit was quite a challenge. One key aspect of Ghana was that it invested in education to have skilled and trained human resources, capable of transforming their knowledge to their peers. Guinea Bissau wanted to congratulate Ghana for its successes because it was a good example and role model to follow. Such a country should even be encouraged to do better because it encouraged other countries. Ghana should be helped as it needed help in budgetary areas to cover the deficit. As a market-based economy, it was a beacon for all other countries. There were countries making headway and they deserved special attention.
Ms. HOUMGBEDJI ( Benin) said Ghana was seen as a good student in all disciplines, and it was no surprise that it was enjoying success. However, this was also due to long-term efforts, and was not due to a fairy godmother. Benin had had an energy crisis, and all sister nations were counting on Ghana. Did Ghana believe that it could fashion its policy to help its sister nations, such as Benin and Togo, so they could emerge from the crisis, the speaker asked. Further, would the objectives set out in the 2000-2009 plan be achieved?
Mr. JANNEH, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said that Ghana’s success showed what could be achieved through responsible economic management. The most important was the achievements in the area of good governance. Another benefit was a stable region. Taking the trade between Ghana and Nigeria, it had enormous proportions. On the issue of overseas development assistance, Ghana had considerably benefited from it.
RUDOLF FETZER ( Germany) said this was a very good innovation with regards to the Council’s sessions. A number of discussions had been held on donor commitments, and this had become almost a routine. What was new today was that developing countries were presenting their success stories, giving others the opportunity to learn, and this was a positive thing, and a path on which the Council should continue. The Moderator’s frequent challenges to donors did not really hit the point of the debate.
With regards to the presentation of Ghana, the presenter had said there was an impressive growth of agricultural production, and he should give some information on what were the reasons behind this.
Mr. RANDRIANARISON ( Madagascar) congratulated Ghana for its major economic progress. Could Ghana share its experience in the field of monetary policies, tax revenues and financial regulations? A comment valid for both Ethiopia and Ghana was that the financial need was very important and should be provided.
MUNIR AKRAM ( Pakistan) said all knew firstly that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the other development goals were dependent on two things: national efforts, plans and strategies and their implementation; and global partnership. It was encouraging that this year so many developing countries had agreed to present their national plans to the Council, but it was sad that no developed countries had done the same. Next year, there should be some equity - and there should be presentations from both types of country. The complexity of both the issues of governance and of corruption should be appreciated. Bad governance flowed from many things, and was not necessarily from the leadership. Corruption had a national aspect, but a lot of corruption was related to the fact that there were tax havens, that there was capital flight to places which observed secrecy. There was an increased need for international cooperation in this regard. There was a need for further North-South cooperation to eliminate this problem. Official development aid allocations should not be determined by the donors, but by the needs of the national plans and strategies of the countries, with particular concern for the fragile countries.
ALPHA SAW ( Guinea) said that Guinea had already mentioned its esteemed consideration for Ghana. It wanted to raise some questions, firstly on debt and what the current ratio of indebtedness to GDP was. The second point was on inflation. From 2000 to 2006, had inflation dropped to 10 per cent, which was still high by the standards of the International Monetary Fund. Was this something that could be sustained? Finally, a question was raised if Ghana could be a lead country in a monetary zone.
Mr. FERNIE ( United Kingdom) said with regards to the suggestion from Pakistan on donors being reviewed next year, as most knew there was an Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development peer review committee. In the spirit of interactivity and maybe not necessarily reflecting the views of the Government, as this had changed, this was an excellent idea, and it could be further discussed. But if the Council was to examine the situation in developed countries, it should do so in a wide range of countries.
Mr. GYAN-BAFFOUR, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning of Ghana, said that on the issue of the debt burden, Ghana used to be highly indebted and a poor nation. The debt burden to GDP ratio was about 10 per cent. Ghana was no longer highly indebted although it was still a poor country. On inflation, Ghana needed to reduce it to a single digit. On the question about how Ghana was able to reduce the debt burden, Ghana had worked on the debt to GDP ratio. A Government should not borrow more than 10 per cent of what it collected in taxes and revenues the previous year. The Bank of Ghana was independent and decided by itself on the monetary policy. The Government only decided about the fiscal policy. Ghana was also reducing the domestic debt by reducing the Government’s expenditure. The interest rates could also be reduced that way. On the comment and question by the United Kingdom, which was a major bilateral donor, Ghana was aware that the United Kingdom was more flexible than many other donors.
There was some risk associated with direct budget support, so transparency was important, Mr. Gyan-Baffour said. Some of the poverty reduction efforts had to be institutionalised. Ghana was trying hard to stay focused and complacency could create problems if it was not handled well. There was the West-African Power Pool, aiming at sharing power between neighbouring countries. The monetary zone was also something in place. On the sources of growth, Ghana mentioned coco production as the largest agriculture product. In terms of other crops, it had increased because of the increase of the percentage of irrigated land, which rose from 1.4 per cent to 12 per cent.
Discussion on National Voluntary Presentation of Cambodia
Mr. CHHAY, Senior Minister for Planning of Cambodia, said that, during the last eight years, Cambodia and its people had enjoyed the benefits of peace, political stability and economic growth. Stability and enhanced security had contributed to Cambodia’s growth, and the Government had embarked on reform within certain frameworks. Those efforts had taken strong root in the socio-economic framework of Cambodia, and the economy had become ever more resilient and dynamic: the average per capita income had almost doubled from 2000 to 2003; and inflation had been low. The population was still growing, and Cambodia had the largest young population it had ever had. The Government recognized that achieving the Millennium Development Goals could not be possible without the contribution of Cambodia’s development partners, to whom the people and Government of Cambodia were grateful for their help in reducing poverty.
The Cambodian Government wished to have a consistent and effective legal framework, responsive to the needs of the country and its people, and promoting economic growth, Mr. Than said. Many efforts had been undertaken to strengthen core human rights and to reform such areas as the judiciary, with a draft anti-corruption law slated for adoption. After rigorous implementation of the Financial Development Strategy, Cambodia’s financial system had begun to play a more important role, giving strong impetus to the Government to continue towards implementation of the Financial Development Strategy 2006-2015. Although difficulties remained, the Government had made considerable progress in certain areas, including a trade framework.
Cambodia was aware of the narrow base of development in Cambodia, which was driven mainly by certain areas, and that that was the cause of inequality. Making the economy resistant to shocks was a high priority, Mr. Than noted, and therefore the revitalization of the rural and agricultural sectors was a priority. In the medium-term, the Government would be required to make considerable investment in infrastructure, and it urged development partners to support those efforts. The Government had redistributed land to thousands of mainly landless families, and provided them with title to that land. The Government highly valued its development partners for supporting the work of Cambodia in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Its long-term aim was to free Cambodia from poverty and disease, with all living together in peace and harmony, without discrimination based on gender or religion.
KOJI TSUVUOKA ( Japan) congratulated Cambodia for its track record in bringing the country this far. Bangladesh had also provided the Council with an excellent presentation, showing that it was on track in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Over the past years, Japan had been providing Bangladesh and Cambodia with large amounts of financial aid. But ownership and partnership were even more important. Regarding Africa, Japan mentioned that it was sponsoring a meeting on African development together with the World Bank. Japan wished to add its support of Cape Verde, in advance of the presentation to be made, as its representative had to leave the meeting now.
KIM HAK-SU, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said Cambodia had done remarkably well in recent years, despite some formidable challenges that it had faced. Cambodia had set an example in reducing the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate among adults. However, Cambodia still faced many challenges. To address them, it would need sustained development assistance, market access, and significant increase in direct investment. Subregional trade opportunities should also be strengthened.
ZAMIRA ESHMAMBETOVA, Office of the High Representative for Landlocked and Least Developed Countries, said that the Office was pleased that six countries were making voluntary presentations. The Office of the High Representative for Landlocked and Least Developed Countries was working with those countries. They were all different, but also had some things in common. All the stories that the Council had heard were remarkable. It was clear that success was possible where countries had strong ownership of the development process. Successful partnerships with civil society, donors and international organizations were also important. And resource mobilization had also played a role. The latter had been achieved because the countries had decided to diversify and produce high-value goods. However, exogenous factors were jeopardizing the success of some countries, such a landlocked countries where access to the sea was critical. Problems related to climate change were also important challenges.
Mr. CABRAL ( Guinea-Bissau) said Cambodia had come to the Council to share its successes and the challenges it still faced. It was important to recall that Cambodia was being reborn, that it was rising above the ashes of an abominable disaster, which should be recalled by all, so that it never happened again. Cambodia had a long history behind it, and it had played a key role in helping other countries. It was encouraging to see that Cambodia had achieved so much progress, as it showed that other countries could also succeed. Due to the circumstances of the past, Cambodia continued to be a country that received international aid. It was to be hoped that partners and donor countries would be generous vis-à-vis the Khmer people, that everyone made every effort to ensure that they continued on that path, and that Cambodia enjoyed the respect and confidence of the international community.
Mr. CHHAY, Senior Minister for Planning of Cambodia, said that Cambodia wanted to express its thanks for all those who had spoken and who supported Cambodia.
Discussion on National Voluntary Presentation of Cape Verde
Mr. BORGES, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde, said with regard to the reduction of poverty and food insecurity in Cape Verde, he was not convinced that those issues could be micro-discussed. Cape Verde was a small country in Western Africa, but it was a country that had to be seen and analysed as an island nation. It was an archipelago of 10 islands, with a fragmented micro-market, a proliferation of infrastructure, and ever-increasing needs for investment for that reason, as well as the cost of maintaining infrastructure. The cost of internal mobility of goods and people was also high.
Cape Verde had a great deal of vulnerability, and had to face vulnerabilities on a number of levels: environmental, economic, and in terms of security. Only 10 per cent of the territory was available as arable land; and rainfall was insufficient, irregular and unpredictable, making farming a difficult activity. There were no natural resources. There was an imbalance between exports and imports. In terms of vulnerability in the area of security, Cape Verde’s location caused it to be subject to various types of trafficking, and the country was concerned with fighting that phenomenon, even though it suffered from a lack of resources. Mr. Borges said that there were three main elements that had been significant in the recent evolution of Cape Verde: an enormous reliance on public aid; the constant pace of development; and the democratic transition in 1990, which had caused the country to enjoy good governance.
Good governance had also led to commitment to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and Cape Verde had put a range of tools in place to implement them. Mr. Borges observed that it was important to simplify the development process – many countries that were still vulnerable and weak institutionally went too far with regard to institutions. In the effort to achieve the MDGs, the Government, civil society and all organizations in Cape Verde were working hard to fight poverty, including at an individual level. People could not be pulled out of poverty: they had to choose to extricate themselves from it, and that should be taken into account when talking about the issue. In that regard, there was a structural element to the food deficit in Cape Verde, due to a lack of local food production. However, it was important to note that some of the Millennium Development Goals had already been achieved such as those regarding education, reduction of infant mortality and health.
JEAN FEYDER ( Luxembourg) said that the presentation made by the Minister of Cape Verde had been very clear, comprehensive, and had showed the great political will of the government of Cape Verde to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Luxembourg wanted to confirm that it was pleased to be among the major partners of Cape Verde. In order to facilitate ownership, Luxembourg decided on a cooperative programme to be as transparent and clear as possible. Priority sectors such as education, health and water had been determined. Also, as a lot of the young people in Cape Verde needed jobs, a comprehensive system had been set up allowing young people to get professional and technical training in order to find a job. Cape Verde might an interesting example for other countries to follow as well.
MOHAMMED OULD TOLBA ( Mauritania) said the Minister of Cape Verde had given an excellent diagnosis of the situation in the country in terms of methodology and content. All were involved in the success of Cape Verde, which had been obvious in terms of good governance. There was a certain parallel between good governance and good results, which was quite apparent. Sectoral, local and national projects had all been excellent, particularly with regard to education. Water resources were also a challenge for Cape Verde, and its success in that area was a lesson for all countries in the region.
Ms. HOUMGBEDJI ( Benin) said Cape Verde was an inspiration for all and showed that the least developed countries could evolve. Benin wanted to revisit Cape Verde in a few years and to see the evolution of that country after it left the list of least developed countries.
Mr. CABRAL (Guinea-Bissau) said it was difficult to resist the temptation of using superlatives with regard to Cape Verde, as it was true that many saw the country as a fine example – a perfect illustration of the determination and efforts of a people that were vulnerable but not resigned. Cape Verde, as the Foreign Minister had pointed out, was a country that was facing numerous difficulties of all sorts, but there was clear proof here of what a people could do when it showed determination, courage, and decided to take its destiny into its own hands. Fighting poverty was mainly a cultural act. Ensuring that social and economic progress became a reality was up to the individual. Cape Verde was very vulnerable in terms of its need to deal with clandestine immigration, which was very dangerous in Africa. European partners should be objective and aware of the situation, in order to provide active support, as Cape Verde would not be able to come up with additional resources from its budget.
HELMUT K. ANGULA ( Namibia) congratulated the Minister of Cape Verde for an excellent presentation. Namibia could see the temptation of the Minister to play down the success story, but here was a case of a very successful story, which needed to be told. Given the limited resources, it was a story of an island State, which could soon be among those such as an example. The most important point was to build the collective responsibility so that the transition could be sustained. Instead of underplaying the success of Cape Verde, one should ask what could be done to sustain it. In particular, the international community should look at the instruments how to sustain this transition.
HENRI RAUBENHEIMER ( South Africa) said there had been a number of good examples given today of how aid worked. Cape Verde had demonstrated how some countries could pull themselves up from their bootstraps. All the presentations had been demonstrative of how the countries had taken primary responsibility for their own development, but of course development remained a partnership that was also contained in the theme for the Ministerial Review. It was hoped in future it would not be reduced to a donor-recipient debate. A number of countries were struggling against global challenges, and future Annual Ministerial Reviews should address those, as the Council was a global forum. Maybe some had been fearful of participating, as it had been suggested that this was to be a peer review, but that was not the case. This was where countries learned, and learned from each other, about what did and did not work. It was not a peer review.
JEROEN STEEGHS ( Netherlands) wished to echo what South Africa had said on global partnerships. The Netherlands had had a great record with such partnerships. It had been a very good day having this part of the high-level segment exchanging views on these topics. Four out of the six countries were partner countries of the Netherlands. The Netherlands was working with 36 developing countries and realized that there were still more countries in need. Cape Verde would remain a partner country of the Netherlands. On the issue of aid effectiveness, the Netherlands wanted to align itself with the procedures that had used by Cape Verde. On the graduation process, the Netherlands noted that there was an interim period and there was a group supporting Cape Verde's transition.
PIRAGIBE DOS SANTOS TARRAGO (Brazil) asked what was the importance or significance of international aid in Cape Verde in the process that had led to its success, and what role had it played? Cape Verde was a graduating nation: what would its international aid needs be, and what were the figures which it foresaw in terms of the country depending on international aid to the extent that it had to date? Finally, Brazil wondered what impact the situation in Cape Verde had had on migration.
HUGH SEALY ( Barbados) said that Barbados respected the ingeniosity of the people of Cape Verde. It was a miraculous achievement. The whole concept of graduation needed to be examined.
RICHARD T. MILLER ( United States) said this had been a remarkably serious presentation of the challenges and achievements of Cape Verde, and there was much that was admirable that had been done. With regard to graduation, that was an area that the United Nations and the international community had not handled very well, perhaps. The point was that there was no wish to punish countries for success. Many attractive policies had been put in place, and it was hoped the transition would be smooth, and take place over time and not abruptly as though it were the result of a statistical achievement. Perhaps in this area the international community did not do enough to find alternative resources, such as aid-for-trade or other investment promotion projects. Development resources were different in that there was a need to look both at need and at effectiveness, and that was not always easy.
Mr. MARQUES ( Portugal) said that Portugal was proud to be a long-standing partner of Cape Verde. Cape Verde was an example that good governance paid. Nevertheless, there were still challenges to be met in the field of food and water shortages, for example. Portugal reaffirmed that it would be there for Cape Verde in the future.
Mr. BORGES, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cape Verde, in concluding remarks, thanked all speakers for their compliments. Cape Verde still had a lot of problems: it was a country that could be considered to have succeeded given the extremely pessimistic expectations which it had been faced with. However, it still faced a lot of challenges. Somebody had spoken of examples, and another of lessons. Those words were difficult to accept – Cape Verde should be considered as neither an example nor a lesson. It merely wished to share its experience.
However, with regard to graduation, that was a challenge for the Governments of Cape Verde of today and of the future, as well as for the inhabitants of Cape Verde and the international community, Mr. Borges said. Cape Verde had agreed to graduate before the United Nations had defined the modalities for doing so, and that was therefore a shared responsibility with the international community. Appeals had been made to support Cape Verde’s graduation. Some 90 per cent of the financing for graduation had been financed by external bodies, demonstrating the importance of international aid. Donations were fundamental to keep Cape Verde from falling into debt and to guarantee the sustainability of its development. Cape Verde was in a dynamic of development. Aid had been helpful in Cape Verde. Graduation was an opportunity to draw investors to the country, but for that it required increased public investment.
Cape Verde was committed to returning to the Council in future. It had the responsibility to do so, he said. The development bodies, the Council and the entire United Nations could not disengage itself from the process of graduation of Cape Verde. Read more!
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