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The G8's aid to Africa should support 'indispensable' science-based programmes that African countries will have real incentives to make sustainable, says this editorial in Nature.

The G8 group of most industrialised nations will meet next week to discuss, among other things, increasing aid for Africa.

In the past, such aid has often been spent on projects that did not meet the needs of African communities.

To stop this happening again, says this editorial in Nature, the G8 should ensure that development projects they fund are "indispensable" to African countries. This would encourage these countries to find ways to sustain any progress the aid achieves.

The editorial gives two examples of sustainable aid. Firstly, Kenyan 'paravets' — local people given basic veterinary training — are invaluable to farmers because the country has a shortage of trained veterinarians. Secondly, the successful development in Benin of a high-yielding, drought-resistant strain of rice has prompted the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to set up an agricultural research centre in Kenya.

Link to full Nature editorial