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Last Updated: 02/01/2006Thinking about Africa
Roeland van de Geer
1. Introduction and summary
With continuing violent conflicts in the region of the African Great Lakes, the Horn of Africa; and West Africa, with an increasing number of African states appearing to fail and with social development and economic growth in many African countries not reaching levels required to meaningfully reduce poverty, Africa must remain a priority on the international agenda.
International cooperation has not been able to assist Africa sufficiently to overcome the enormous problems facing the continent at the onset of the 21st century. However, there is increasing consensus between Africa and its international partners on a continent wide agenda on which five themes are central:
prevention, management and resolution;
- good governance and good policy;
- investing in people, by improving health and education and combating HIV/AIDS;
- pro-poor growth through support for the private sector in Africa;
- sustainable development, focusing on the management of natural resources, environment and water.
Note: While this paper is based on the Netherlands policy on Africa, translated in English under the title "Strong people, weak states," it has been revised and adapted by the author and reflects his personal views only.
Roeland van de Geer is an ambassador with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.