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EU Pledges more aid for trade

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Friday, 08 July 2005

EU Pledges more aid for trade

The European Union has pledged an extra 300 million euros a year Wednesday to help the world’s poorest countries trade effectively, bringing the total annual support from the EU up to 1 billion euros.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso made the announcement at the gathering of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialised nations at Gleneagles, Scotland, where fighting African poverty is a priority.
Barroso said the extra funding would help poor countries to boost their trading capacity with projects such as improving roads and waterways and modernising customs services.
"I want this announcement today - along with the EU's agreement last month to get on track to double aid - to send a powerful European message to the G8 table about the level of European ambition in this crucial year for development," Barroso told media representative ahead of the G8 summit.
The EU is already the biggest aid donor in the world, contributing 55 percent of overall aid. But Barroso said the EU executive "can" and is "determined to do more." The Commission chief, who is at the G8 summit as the "9th man at the G8 table", pointed out that even if world markets are made more open many developing countries are badly suited to take advantage of new export opportunities.
"We must build Africa’s capacity to seize the opportunities of free and fair trade. If sub Saharan Africa could regain just 1 per cent more of global commerce that would be worth seven times more income every year than the continent currently receives in foreign aid and in debt relief. Africa’s share of global trade is in steady decline, from 6 percent in 1980, it has fallen to 2 percent in 2002, according to figures from the Commission.
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