The announcement of the 10- year long, us $25 billion Africa Development Initiative comes as a much needed helping hand for a continent sinking into the quagmire of increasing debt and poverty. The joint programme involving the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and its own agencies, aims at setting the continent firmly on the path of development. Africa has 22 but of 25 countries with the lowest levels of economic and social development. The debts of African countries stood at US $313 billion at the end of 1994, equivalent to 234 per cent of their export income. Announcing the aid, the UN secretary general, Boutros Boutros Ghali said that while conditions were improving for many peoples around the world, Africa was the only region where poverty was expected to increase during this decade. The Organisation of African Unity has pledged its support for the programme. The plan aims to channel private sources of capital into- Africa while trying to reinforce the social condition with broad programmes in education, food production and soil improvement, water and sanitation, information technologies and better governing skills.