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India against IMF conditions on Africa

African countries have suffered a lot of damage in the past due to the austerity measures brought in by the IMF.

india Updated: Oct 13, 2006 10:56 IST

India has suggested that African countries be allowed to implement their national development policies without imposition of intrusive conditions by international financial institutions.

This was necessary to avoid the damage done to African countries through the austerity measures brought in by the IMF-dictated structural adjustment programmes of the past, Indian delegate Mabel Rebello told the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

For the success of the international community's current focus on the special needs of Africa, aid should be released in predictable tranches over a long-term period and should be focussed on enabling African economies to produce a broad range of goods and to create more jobs, she said.

"It is necessary that African countries be allowed to implement their national development policies with national ownership and given policy space instead of imposition of intrusive policy conditionalities," Rebello said.

While Official Development Assistance (ODA) and debt relief can ease the financial burdens, especially in highly indebted countries in Africa, sustained economic growth would require longer-term measures including in the area of trade.

The report of the secretary-general recommends that initiatives such as "aid for trade" must complement and not substitute efforts to improve market access for African exports and to strengthen Africa's participation in world trade, she noted.

In this context, the suspension of the Doha Round of trade negotiations is a cause of concern, Rebello said. Failure to resume the Doha Round has negative implications for the large number of poor and marginal farmers, on their food security, livelihood security and rural development in developing countries, especially those with subsistence farming.

On its part, India has consistently identified with the aspirations of the people of Africa and has maintained long-standing political relations with the countries of that continent.

"Even though our own deprivation was considerable, we realise that Africa's tribulations were even greater. India has, therefore, always been a strong and consistent voice in support of Africa, at the UN and elsewhere," she said.

It is India's firm conviction that success in achieving the objectives of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) depends on an African-led and Africa-developed agenda, she said.

Turning to peacekeeping operations, Rebello said India has consistently pointed to the need for an integral link between peacekeeping and peace building, which is a prerequisite investment in the future to protect the hard won gains of the efforts to establish peace.

Referring to the problem of malaria, she said India is familiar with tackling the mosquito menace and fully supports efforts that focus on the prevention and elimination of malaria in Africa and other developing countries.