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African musical stars record anti-HIV song for UN development agency

African musical stars record anti-HIV song for UN development agency

Celebrated African musicians have come together to record a song in the hope of ending the spread of HIV/AIDS on the continent and helping to halve extreme poverty by 2015, the deadline by which the United Nations hopes to see marked improvements in the lot of the poor worldwide.

The musicians who gathered in Senegal's capital, Dakar, from 16 to 20 May for the recording included Salif Keita of Mali, UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Goodwill Ambassador Youssou N'Dour and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Youth Emissary Baaba Maal, both of Senegal, Malouma Mint Meidah of Mauritania, Salif Keita of Mali and Cheb Mami of Algeria.

The artistes, cooperating under UNDP's "Africa 2015 initiative," will carry the message that Africa must mobilize urgently to meet new and old challenges not only in the group song - called "Africa 2015" and set for release in October - but also through new songs added to their individual repertoires.

UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown said only a general social mobilization could overcome the continent's major problems. "We are at a critical juncture and can no longer afford the luxury of looking at the challenges of our world and continuing to do tomorrow what we did yesterday," he stressed.

"Africa has immense talents, not only artistic but also intellectual and technical, as well as vast natural riches," Djibril Diallo, Director of the UNDP Communications Office said. "It is therefore possible to approach the goal of having a new generation free of HIV/AIDS by the year 2015."

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), endorsed at a UN summit in 2000, aim to reduce poverty and hunger by at least half, provide primary education for all children, reverse the spread of AIDS and other major diseases, manage the environment for the benefit of present and future generations and reduce child and maternal mortality, all by 2015.