Merkel to focus on Africa at G-8 summit

"Leading states have resources to provide real help to the continent."

angela merkel 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
angela merkel 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday pledged a strong focus on Africa at next month's Group of Eight summit, declaring that the leading industrial powers have the resources to provide real help to the continent. Merkel, who also hopes to make progress on climate change at the June 6-8 gathering, has stressed the importance of helping Africa at recent meetings with outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair and singer-activist Bono. "The issue of Africa will be a particular focus" at the summit in Heiligendamm, Merkel said in her weekly video podcast. "We know that we can really help with our resources ... and we want to show to this continent our understanding of freedom, justice and solidarity is not limited to us, but goes for the whole world," she added. Merkel identified as key points continuing efforts to forgive debt and increase development aid funds, although she gave no details; helping the fight against HIV/AIDS and "fighting the greatest dangers to our world - for example climate change, which is causing terrible damage particularly in Africa." She added, however, that another focus will be to "speak with the Africans about how the institutions and conditions in those countries can be improved so that help truly reaches people on the ground." Merkel's pledge to put Africa at center stage comes after Blair made alleviating African poverty a key goal of the British-hosted G-8 summit in 2005.