Merkel calls for better governance in developing world

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Tuesday for better governance in developing nations and urged them to take more responsibility for building up their economies to combat poverty.

The German leader told a UN summit on efforts to eliminate poverty and hunger that the world now has to accept it will not achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 target date set a decade ago.

Germany is the world's third largest aid donor and Merkel said there should be more "results-based financing" to poorer nations who have demanded greater financial aid from the industrialised world at the summit.

"There is one thing we have to accept. The primary responsibility for development lies with the governments of the developing countries," Merkel said.

"It is in their hands whether aid can be effective. Therefore, support to good governance is as important as aid itself."

Merkel insisted that development assistance "can, apart from emergency situations, only be a contribution to national resources, never a substitute for them.

"Development aid cannot continue indefinitely. The task therefore is to use limited resources as effectively as possible. This can only work through good governance which taps that country's potential."

The German chancellor also called for greater efforts to promote a market economy and small businesses.

"Without self-sustaining economic growth, developing countries will find the road out of poverty and hunger to steep to climb."

Merkel also made a new plea for reform of the United Nations, to back Germany's case for a place on the UN Security Council.

"It is up to us, the member states of the United Nations to make the UN fit for the challenges of this century," she said, highlighting Germany's role as the third biggest contributor to the UN budget.

"For that reason Germany will continue to work resolutely for UN reform," she insisted.

© 2010 AFP

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