By Caty Weaver

This is Bill White with the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

The leaders of a group of developing countries, called the Group of Fifteen, held a two-day meeting last month in Cairo, Egypt. Leaders and other officials from seventeen nations attended. They were from Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The G-Fifteen was created in Nineteen-Eighty-Nine mainly to improve economic cooperation among member countries. Yet only about ten percent of the group's trade is among members. G-Fifteen countries make about eight percent of the total international economic product. However, the countries represent thirty percent of the world's population.

The leaders opened the meeting by saying that foreign debt among G-Fifteen members slows development. Jamaican Prime Minister Percival Patterson said industrial nations are not meeting their responsibilities to help poorer countries develop. He said developing nations must gain international financial agreements that will speed economic growth and improve the lives of their people.

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo spoke about foreign debt at the meeting. Mr. Obasanjo said African countries owed three-hundred-fifty-thousand-million dollars to foreign countries in Nineteen-Ninety-Eight. He said debt payments make up forty percent of the total African budget.

The leaders also discussed new technology. Indian Vice President Krishnan Kant urged rich countries to share the gains of improved technology. He said leaving poor countries out of new information systems increases economic differences between rich and poor countries.

The G-Fifteen leaders produced a resolution at the end of their meeting in Cairo. It called for more communication between their countries and industrial nations. The resolution also appealed to industrial nations to cancel debts owed them by developing nations. The seventeen leaders asked rich countries to honor a promise they had made about increasing aid and investment in poor countries.

The final resolution also called for more trade agreements among developing countries. And, leaders called for changes in the world economic system that will make it easier for their countries to take part.

The G-Fifteen admitted Colombia and Iran to the group. It will hold its meeting next year in Indonesia.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Caty Weaver. This is Bill White.

Voice of America Special English