Minister Cowen visits Development Cooperation Ireland projects in South Africa
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowen T.D., arrived in Johannesburg today to begin a three day visit to South Africa.
He visited the impoverished township of Atteridgeville on the outskirts of Johannesburg where Development Cooperation Ireland is funding a number of community-based activities, administered by Irish missionaries. A key focus is the HIV/AIDS pandemic which has devastated many areas of South Africa. The number of people living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa has been estimated at 4.5m - some 10% of the entire population. The Minister inspected work in progress on the construction of a hospice for Aids sufferers. In addition to the €112,000 funding already provided by DCI for this and other projects managed by the Passionist Fathers, he announced a fresh donation of €10,000 by the Government to support this vital work.
At a reception in the Irish Embassy in Pretoria, the Minister later announced Government funding of €300,000 to assist in building the capacity of the Secretariat for the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The NEPAD initiative involves a collective effort by African nations to promote their development objectives. It is an entirely African owned initiative, being pursued through the framework of the African Union and in which South Africa's President, Thabo Mbeki, has taken a keen personal interest. The funding announced by the Minister will also involve an outreach programme by NEPAD in the HIV/AIDS area.Top