Continued backing for African development initiatives voiced at ECOSOC

Continued backing for African development initiatives voiced at ECOSOC

High-level government representatives today expressed their support for African efforts to spur lasting economic development as the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) entered the second day of its high-level segment debate on ensuring sustainable development for African countries.

A number of ministers taking the floor said that African plans for economic growth would not succeed without an end to numerous wars and conflicts on the continent as well as the establishment of good governance and sound democracies. Likewise, transparent and corruption-free legal and regulatory frameworks, substantial increases in international assistance, the lightening of foreign-debt burdens, and the elimination of barriers to African exports were also vital conditions to spur economic expansion.

Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for greater international backing to the continent and stressed that the UN system had a crucial role to play in mobilizing and delivering that support.

The Secretary-General called on the UN system to become Africa's advocate for a wide range of measures, including increased development aid, deeper and faster debt relief and a larger share of private investment. He also stressed the need to make greater efforts to "listen to the people on the ground" and be more constructive in finding ways to support local, African initiatives.

During today's session, a number of countries expressed their support for the New African Initiative announced at the Organization of African Unity Summit (OAU) in Lusaka, Zambia, last week, and said the pledge made there by African leaders to work for peace, security, democracy, good governance, human rights and sound economic management as conditions for sustainable development was important.

Speakers also made repeated references to the ravages of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, emphasizing that no major development undertaking could succeed until the spread of the disease was brought under control.