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Africa's development plan must cut poverty and hunger, control HIV/AIDS - Annan

Africa's development plan must cut poverty and hunger, control HIV/AIDS - Annan

As the United Nations General Assembly today discussed a new plan to spur development in Africa, Secretary-General Kofi Annan stressed that the initiative could not be successful unless the continent achieves such goals as reducing poverty and hunger, as well as controlling HIV/AIDS.

In his opening statement to the Assembly's debate, the Secretary-General welcomed the decision by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) to adopt the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the centrepiece of Africa's development agenda.

"I believe there is a symbiotic relationship between NEPAD and the MDGs," Mr. Annan said. "NEPAD will not be a success if Africa fails to achieve the MDGs - and the world as a whole cannot achieve the MDGs unless they are achieved in Africa."

Two separate, but related, priorities - combating HIV/AIDS and promoting girls' education - were particularly central to achieving the MDGs and realizing the promise NEPAD held for all of Africa, the Secretary-General stressed. Besides being key goals in their own right, promoting girls' education and controlling HIV/AIDS would be the most powerful enablers for the achievement of all the other targets in Africa.

By framing its aims around the Millennium goals, NEPAD also challenged Africa's development partners to deepen their commitment to global poverty reduction, the Secretary-General noted. NEPAD's stated objective was to achieve the 7 per cent overall annual growth necessary for Africa to halve poverty by 2015. Meeting that target required more than doubling Africa's recent growth rates. What remained now was for the principles of NEPAD to be converted into action, so that the partnership made a real difference for ordinary Africans.

While Africans will determine Africa's future, Mr. Annan emphasized, the continent will also need the support of the developed world in an effort grounded in a sober and realistic assessment of what needs to be done.

"In this age of globalization, even the richest and most powerful countries ignore the challenges and crises of other parts of the world at their own peril," he said. "At the same time, opportunities for growth and innovation exist everywhere - and all of us can benefit from each other's successes."