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Last Updated: Friday, 6 April 2007, 06:33 GMT 07:33 UK
Morocco hosts development forum
By Richard Hamilton
BBC News, Rabat

Man in Nairobi, Kenya, shantytown - file photo
The conference aims to improve the lives of Africa's poorest people
The first African conference on human development is about to open in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

Visiting delegates from Kenya, Tunisia, Gabon and Senegal will be discussing how to improve the lives of their poorest people.

It has been organised by the United Nations Development Programme and the Moroccan government.

The conference will consider poverty reduction, good governance, gender equality and illegal immigration.

The visiting delegates hope they may be able to learn from Morocco, which in 2005 launched its own Human Development Initiative or INDH, aimed at reducing poverty.

More investment needed

Morocco is not a poor country compared with parts of sub-Saharan Africa, but for many of its people, life is extremely tough.

In the rural areas, illiteracy stands at 60% and access to basic services such as running water is limited.

In July last year, an international conference on migration was held in Rabat.

The conclusion of that meeting was that illegal immigration could only be controlled if more investment was put into improving the lives of Africa's poor.

This conference hopes to tackle that issue, which has eluded so many development programmes in the past.

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