Fri, Apr 03, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan to boost aid to African allies, MOFA says

By Jenny W. hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan will increase the resources available to help its four African allies become more self-reliant, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday, adding that the three main aims of the aid were improving agricultural production, medical and educational services.

In the spirit of teaching a man to fish instead of giving him fish, Department of African Affairs head Andrew Chang (張雲屏) said the emphasis of the aid would be to make communities self-reliant and sustainable.

He said the recent cross-strait detente allowed Taiwan to provide services that would genuinely benefit the people of these countries because the government could now take a more pragmatic approach to its relations with its African allies.

Describing the nation’s projects in Africa, Chang said a Taiwanese agricultural team was helping farmers in Sao Tome and Principe grow tropical fruit best suited to the climate, such as star fruit and guava, to sell to hotels.

Several Taiwanese hospitals have also been commissioned to provide medical services and training for health workers in the Africa. Chang said in the past MOFA had to rely on volunteers recruited from the International Cooperation and Development Fund, but the number of volunteers had not always been sufficient.

Taipei Medical University and Changhua Christian Hospital have been commissioned to oversee medical development in Swaziland and Sao Tome and Principle respectively.

The government has also commissioned National Taipei University of Technology and National Pingtung University of Science and Technology to offer classes on technology for women in Gambia.

In other news, MOFA yesterday urged online shoppers and vendors to be vigilant of an Internet scam originating in Nigeria. Chang said at least four people had reportedly been conned by Nigerians who claimed they wanted to buy cellphones or iPods. Nigerian police have been notified and will look into the matter.

Chang also urged Taiwanese fishermen to abide by the laws of other countries when fishing in foreign seas after a Taiwanese fishing boat was fined US$160,000 last month. South African authorities discovered a large amount of fish and shark fins on the vessel.

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