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Partnerships with private sector can help Africa achieve development goals - Annan

Partnerships with private sector can help Africa achieve development goals - Annan

In a message to a top-level African forum in Senegal, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that public partnerships with the private sector could help Africa achieve many of its development goals, particularly the target of halving the proportion of people living in poverty by 2015.

"To fill the investment gap, and to create the engine of growth that will lift people out of despair, Africa needs a more vibrant private sector," the Secretary-General said in his message to the meeting in Dakar on how to finance the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), an initiative put forward by African leaders. Some 30 African leaders, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, corporations and development agencies, are attending the three-day summit.

"For entrepreneurship to flourish, and for private investment to flow, there needs to be the right enabling environment," the Secretary-General stressed, noting that NEPAD recognized as much, and placed good governance at its core - as a prerequisite for development, and as a catalyst for business activity.

"Indeed, the NEPAD Heads of State Implementation Committee, having already agreed on codes and standards for economic and corporate governance, is now trying to develop similarly stringent codes and standards for political governance," he said.

Meanwhile, Africa's leaders recognized the need to learn from past mistakes, determine their own destiny and develop a homegrown strategy for achieving their objectives, the Secretary-General said in the message that was delivered on his behalf by K.Y. Amaoko, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

"I hope that foreign businesses will respond to this new spirit, recognize the enormous potential that exists to create markets, jobs and wealth, and resist the simplistic view of Africa as a continent in endless turmoil," Mr. Annan said.

"And I hope Africa's own businesspeople and entrepreneurs will be given the room they need to do their part in building strong and stable communities," he added.