African leaders criticise donor nations on trade

May 28, 2008 (AFP) – African leaders on Wednesday lashed out at rich nations for failing to tackle trade inequalities even as they make lofty pledges to boost aid. The leaders, in Japan for a major development conference, urged industrialised nations to make it easier for them to export food, coffee and other products at fair prices.

“Pursuit of unfair trade practices by the big powers as well as difficult access for African products to markets of developed countries continue to penalise our states and significantly destroy their performance in the creation of riches,” said Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore.

Forty heads of states from Africa are participating in the three-day conference to discuss economic growth, stability and climate change.

Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda pledged Wednesday to double aid to Africa by 2012 and to help the continent boost rice production two-fold to ease food shortages.

In recent weeks and months soaring prices for essential foodstuffs such as rice, wheat and corn in some of the world’s poorest nations have sparked demonstrations across Africa.

But some African leaders said their countries were mo