NEW DELHI: Noting that three-fourths of the world's poor live in Asia and Africa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday that rural reconstruction and poverty eradication were fundamental to sustainable development.
Delivering the inaugural address at the golden jubilee celebrations of Afro-Asian Rural Development Organization, the prime minister said challenges faced by people of the two continents were daunting.
"Over much of the last century, the people of Africa and Asia fought shoulder to shoulder to liberate themselves from colonial domination. Today, the challenges we face are different but equally daunting. There are threats to international peace. The processes of globalisation and the growing inter-dependence among nations pose fundamental challenges to our economic sustenance," he said.
Countries in the two continents face rising aspirations of teeming millions who demand and deserve nutritious food, clean drinking water, quality education and affordable health care, Manmohan Singh added.
According to the prime minister, the Afro-Asian Rural Development Organisation had the potential "of playing a vital role in our collective battle" against hunger, disease and despair that afflict large segments of populations in the two continents.
"Three quarter of the world's poor live in Asia and Africa. Rural reconstruction and poverty eradication are fundamental to our plans for sustainable development and inclusive growth," he said.