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Page added on September 29, 2008

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Africa: Leaders Say Fuel, Food Crises Have Hit Nations Hard

The soaring cost of fuel and basic foods over the past year has left many countries in sub-Saharan Africa unable to adequately fund critical activities, such as healthcare and provision of safe drinking water, their leaders told the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level debate on Thursday.

Guinea-Bissau’s President Joao Bernardo Vieira said the sharp rise in the cost of oil had been particularly destabilizing on the economy of his country, which is already among the poorest in the world.
“The lack of energy compromises seriously all socio-economic activities, hospitals in particular and the distributions of potable water, which is indispensable to guaranteeing hygiene and public health,” he said.

Mr. Vieira said it was unfair to expect that countries such as Guinea-Bissau would have the economic means to absorb or adjust to the rise in energy costs when it still has to fund basic services for its citizens.

“How can we invest and improve our infrastructure in such vital areas like health, education and agriculture if we are compelled to continuously spend large parts of our already limited resources to buy fuel?”


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