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Friday, 6 July, 2001, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Annan urges action for Africa
Poor family in Soweto
Unlike the rest of the developing world incomes have been falling in Africa
By Emma Jane Kirby in Geneva

Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has called upon the international community to increase its level of aid to Africa in a bid to speed up the region's development.

In a report to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, currently meeting in Geneva, Mr Annan said Africa was at an economic and political turning point.

Kofi Annan
Annan wants contributions increased
But he warned that since the majority of its countries were still among the earth's poorest, it also presented the world with a multitude of challenges.

Mr Annan's report concentrated on the wide scale problems of Africa, with poverty being the main focus.

He said that, unlike the rest of the developing world, income had fallen in the last decade and 52% of Africa's population was now estimated to be living on less than a dollar a day.

Decreasing assistance

Over the same period of time, Mr Annan said, United Nations assistance to the region had been decreased by more than quarter.

He asked donor countries to raise their voluntary contributions to UN funds to put the continent on the path to sustained growth and improved living conditions for its people.

Presenting Mr Annan's report in Geneva, Nitin Desai, a spokesman from the Department of Economy and Social Affairs, said it was important to see Africa was not just a region that needed help, but as a region that was trying to help itself.

"This is something where Africa is doing things for itself and we have to ask ourselves as a global community 'how can I help them to do this a little bit more?'" he said.

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See also:

29 Jun 01 | Americas
Annan seals second UN term
15 Apr 00 | Africa
UN admits Rwanda genocide failure
07 Sep 00 | Americas
Africa: UN's 'strategic ghetto'
05 May 00 | Africa
UN failing in Africa
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