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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June 2005, 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK
Call for Africa-wide G8 debt deal
In front row, Ghanaian President John Kufuor, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, South African President Thabo Mbeki
Key African leaders want a debt deal
Six African leaders meeting in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, have called for rich countries to cancel all of Africa's debts at the G8 summit.

The G8 group of leading industrial nations will focus on development in Africa when it meets on 6-8 July.

Two weeks ago, finance ministers agreed to full debt relief for 18 countries, including 15 poor African countries.

The presidents of Nigeria, Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa are among those who took part in Sunday's meeting.

The G8 finance ministers also said they were prepared to renegotiate the debts of Nigeria, which alone are almost as large as those of all the other countries who have received debt relief.

The African leaders said in a communiqué that they commended the recent decision of the G8 finance ministers to cancel the debt of 18, mostly African nations, as "progress" and called "for steps to be taken to include all African countries".

Aid plans

Meanwhile, African countries also agreed to measures to improve governance as part of the plan to boost aid flows from richer nations.
Slum in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
The UN has ambitious targets for reducing Africa's poverty

Tony Blair has called for the doubling of aid flows to Africa in order to make progress towards meeting ambitious UN targets to cut extreme poverty and hunger by 2015.

But progress on good government and corruption is seen as essential if the West is to agree to increased aid.

Now some 23 African countries have agreed to a system of review to monitor their own political and economic performance.

The leaders considered the first reports under the review mechanism which have assessed good governance in Ghana and Rwanda.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said that the African Peer Review Mechanism (PRM) was "living proof of our determination and commitment to change the status quo for the better".

The PRM is designed to enable African countries to monitor each other and promote better standards of governance.

This is the first time the results of a peer review will be discussed.

The six presidents will watch a presentation on Ghana and Rwanda - uncontroversial choices given that both are firm favourites of the international community.

The gathering will learn about corruption in Ghana's public service and hear a warning that HIV infection is growing at an alarming rate in Rwanda.

President Obasanjo, who is the current chairman of the African Union, is keen to demonstrate that the continent is willing and able to find solutions to its problems.

New World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, who has just completed a visit of four African countries, including Nigeria, praised the new generation of African leaders for their commitment to tackling corruption.


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