In Amsterdam on Tuesday (21 November) officials from the eight countries of the West African Sahel Region met representatives from industrialised nations to consider ways of improving aid to one of the world's poorest areas.
GV President Jawara of Gambia being greeted by fellow delegates
CU conference delegates (TWO SHOTS)
GV zoom into President Jawara speaking in English
CU tracking shot Japanese, Italian, Upper Volta, Gambian French, Senegalese, Chad and Canadian delegations (THREE SHOTS)
MV President Jawara speaking
MV FAO representative PAN TO United States, Danish and other delegations
GV delegates in conference hall
CU PULL OUT TO GV rotting carcas in Sahel
SV native hut and family (THREE SHOTS)
SV and CUS natives attempting to turn over rock hard soil (FOUR SHOTS)
CU and SV cracks evident in dried up soil (TWO SHOTS)
JAWARA: "There is no doubt now that the formation of the Club du Sahel in Dakar, Senegal, in March 1976, ushered in a new chapter in the history of international co-operation between the developing and developed countries."
The eight West African nations of the Club du Sahel are Chad, Mali , Gambia, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Upper Volta and the Cape Verde Islands.
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Background: In Amsterdam on Tuesday (21 November) officials from the eight countries of the West African Sahel Region met representatives from industrialised nations to consider ways of improving aid to one of the world's poorest areas. In an opening address the Gambian President, Sir Dawda Jawara, called on the industrialised nations to give more assistance to the drought-stricken region.
SYNOPSIS: It was the third ministerial meeting of the Club du Sahel - an association of wealthy nations and the eight countries affected. The chairman, President Jawara of Gambia, gave the opening address.
The club was set up under the auspicious of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), following a disastrous drought in the Sahel in 1972 and 1973. President Jawara said that so far only thirty percent of the three billion US dollars needed for the current four-year food production programme has been pledged by governments and international aid agencies.
President Jawara has already visited many countries seeking the extra funds needed for irrigation schemes in particular. One scheme in an advanced planning stag is the huge Senegal river project being jointly undertaken by Mali, Mauritania and Senegal-- it will help irrigate a vast area of the Sahel.
The drought in 1972 and 193 caused heavy losses of live-stock and crops, and killed thousands of people. The Sahel region extends almost three thousand miles across Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. Subsistence farming is barely possible, and the life expectancy of the area's thirty million inhabitants is only thirty-seven years.
Like the western world, the Sahel region is facing an energy crisis. Vast areas of land are bare where forests, cut down to provide fuel, have not been replaced. Reafforestation is planned and the possibility of harnessing solar energy is being investigated. Talks at the three-day Club du Sahel conference are expected to centre on making the drought-stricken area self-sufficient in food by the end of the century. Reuters news agency reports that no major decisions are expected at the meeting.