Can Africa's poverty be beaten?
Some of the world's poorest countries, particularly those in Africa, could have their debt burden cancelled under proposals agreed at a meeting in London over the weekend.
Finance ministers from the wealthiest nations, the G7, say they have agreed to work towards total debt relief of the money owed to international institutions such as the IMF, on a case-by-case basis.
The London meeting was convened to discuss what is being called the Marshall plan for Africa, similar to the US initiative to reconstruct western Europe after the devastation of World War II.
Besides debt relief, the plan seeks to redouble aid to Africa, improve terms of trade for African goods and launch programmes to help the continent meet its Millennium Development goals to reduce poverty.
Former South Africa President Nelson Mandela has come out of his retirement from public life to join the Make Poverty History campaign, a coalition of NGOs lobbying rich nations to keep their promises to help Africa overcome her plight.
The BBC's Africa Live asks: What are the implications of the proposed debt cancellation for Africa? Whose responsibility is it to lift the continent out of its grinding poverty?
Does the West owe it to the continent to help solve its development problems? Is increasing foreign aid and writing off debt the solution?
This debate, broadcast on Wednesday 9 February at 1630 and 1830GMT, is now closed. You can read a section of your emails below.
Of course poverty in Africa can be beaten... by Africans that is! If all the African experts who fuel western economies go back home, how things would change for the better!
Ngum Ngafor, Manchester, UK
I feel efforts to tackle poverty have failed in the past and will definitely do so in the future. Africa will not be saved by rhetoric and little substance. It is about time we tackle corruption head on and also rewrite trade rules that were created to enhance neocolonialism. Gordon Brown's new approach will just be another miserable attempt to encourage Africans to look to the outside for help that will never come!
M. Wuoi, Sudanese in US
Without peace it is impossible for infrastructure to develop.
Greg Jensen, Canada
I think what Africa really needs is peace. Without peace it is impossible for infrastructure to develop. The people I have met in the Congo have been hard working and caring people, the country is rich in resources. All they need really is peace, time and support.
Greg Jensen, Otterburne, Canada
Of course poverty in Africa can be beaten: if leaders of Africa stop begging and come to the realisation that nothing good comes easy but through hard work.
William Twumasi, Maryland, USA
All international aid should be tied to a country's transparency and ability to limit the growth in its population numbers. Otherwise any aid given will be funnelled by the politicians and the people will be left with nothing.
Chandru Narayan, USA
Education for all is the best step to achieving poverty reduction. The general citizenry is ignorant of how public funds are spent. If people are well informed they can challenge the government of the day and leaders can show some responsibility towards the poverty reduction programmes.
Matongo Maumbi, Chikuni, Monze, Zambia
You can never defeat poverty if you do not focus on security and justice. In most African nations, rulers and their families are above the law, and this creates frustrations that can lead to wars. We need stability, because stability brings trust and trust brings investment. Investment creates jobs which in turn boost the economy. A healthy economy gives hope to people and poverty becomes history.
Kambale, Goma, Congo (DRC)
The solution to poverty is compulsory and universal education. Education is wealth!
Badmus Abdulwaheed, Leuven, Belgium
The West has to take the issue of corruption in Africa more seriously.
As an African, I find it very kind of the developed world to make poverty in Africa a priority. But the West has to take the issue of corruption in Africa more seriously. Let's say the West stops the flight of stolen money to western banks - it probably would make billions available for poverty reduction.
The cancellation of African debts is perfect for growth and economic development. In addition, there should be fair trade terms for African goods to avoid Africa being a donor to the West not another way around.
Nyikole James, Brisbane, Australia, (Sudan)
There is a common saying: "Give a fisherman the net and teach him how to catch fish. Don't give him the fish." It is wishful thinking that Africa can be bailed out through aid. We need to change our mentality.
Geza Mhanya, Lilongwe
Until Africans change their own social and economic culture into one that is far more responsible, family focused, educationally driven and respectful of honest democratic government nothing will change. Africans have the same abilities and intelligence of any race but unless they make the effort to make better cultural choices they will be left behind. Mandela is an exception as black leaders are more interested in seizing power and stealing from their countries to support their extravagant life styles and flee to Europe if any difficulties arise. Africa is a wealthy continent and should be a contributor not an endless drain.
Dave Hand, Toronto, Canada
What Africa owes is nothing in comparison to what the world owes Africa.
Milton Williams, Virginia, USA.
The cancellation of debt is a great move to help Africa and it's time to close that chapter in Africa's life. What Africa owes is nothing in comparison to what the world owes Africa.
Milton Williams, Virginia, USA.
Foreign aid is a short-term assistance but Africa should not rely on it for the rest of its lifetime. We need the technology to help us develop our own natural resources. Help Africans help themselves.
Dominic Woja Maku, Saskatoon, Canada
For there to be any chance of long term peace and prosperity, rich countries have to approach international relations with more focus on co-operation as opposed to the spirit of ruthless competition encouraged by the market system.
Mr. Drifter, Ottawa, Canada
If the debt relief comes with questions asked and strings attached, then African nations should say 'no'.
Deng A. G. Dekuek, Perth Western Australia/Sudan
Africa has the human and mineral resources needed to propel us from our abysmal statue. What the politicians, professionals and grassroots need is a change of attitude for the better.
Aroun Rashid Deen, New York, USA
What Africa needs is democracy. Key goals like strengthening the rule of law, creating a free press and ending corruption can only be reached if there is no interference from western powers. Everything is down to peace of mind, so one can determine how one should improve one's own life.
Luc Zagbo, London, England
The poor bear the brunt of the effects of the old colonial master and the new independent leadership whose thirst for money can never be quenched. In the interests of the down trodden, Western aid remains critical in Africa but only as long as it is without conditions.
Shame Makoshori, Harare, Zimbabwe
Poverty in Africa can never be fully beaten, but a sincere commitment to the cause from every individual wherever they live would be a good first step. Perhaps the real question to everyone reading this is: what have you done to beat poverty in Africa?