Asia, Africa, face daunting challenges: PM (Lead)

March 5th, 2012 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Noting that three-fourths of the world’s poor live in Asia and Africa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Monday said rural rebuilding and war on poverty were vital for sustainable development.

Delivering the inaugural address at the golden jubilee celebrations of Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization, the prime minister said that challenges faced by people of the two continents were daunting.

“Over much of the last century, the people of Africa and Asia fought shoulder to shoulder to liberate themselves from colonial dominationm” he said.

“Today, the challenges we face are different but equally daunting. There are threats to international peace. The processes of globalisation and the growing inter-dependence among nations pose fundamental challenges to our economic sustenance,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh announced that the prime minister had approved a grant of $200,000 for each of the next three years to the AARDO members in the field of education and skill development.

Seventeen fellowships in the field of agriculture were announced for the member countries.

According to the prime minister, the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organisation had the potential “of playing a vital role in our collective battle” against hunger, disease and despair that afflict large segments of populations in the two continents.

“Three quarter of the world’s poor live in Asia and Africa. Rural reconstruction and poverty eradication are fundamental to our plans for sustainable development and inclusive growth,” he said.

Starting with five founder members in 1962, namely India, Egypt, Japan, Libya and Malaysia, the group now has 30 members — 15 from Africa and 14 from Asia as full members and one associate member.

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