Global perspective Human stories

On Africa Day, Annan praises developments, calls for solutions to problems

On Africa Day, Annan praises developments, calls for solutions to problems

With the African Union (AU) and other budding institutions beginning to drive the continent's efforts to empower itself, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that the forty-first anniversary of Africa Day provided an occasion to intensify the search for solutions to ongoing problems like the human suffering in Sudan's western Darfur region and the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In a statement to the African Group, meeting at UN Headquarters in New York to commemorate the Day, the Secretary-General praised the African Union and other home-grown initiatives among a range of positive trends underway, including the inauguration of the Pan African Parliament and today's launch in Addis Ababa of the AU Peace and Security Council.

"Step by step, Africa is constructing an architecture of institutions to promote peace and security on the continent," he said, also welcoming the Security Councils' decision last week to establish a "long-awaited" UN peacekeeping operation in Burundi (ONUB).

But he stressed: "We cannot close our eyes to the massive scale of human rights violations and consequent human suffering in Darfur, the continuing tensions in the eastern part of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the current crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, and the other areas of tension on the continent." He called for an intensification of individual and collective efforts to find a definitive solution to these problems.

And "last but very far from least, we must make greater progress in fighting HIV/AIDS, which is taking away Africa's present and its future," Mr. Annan said. "We have made some progress, there is much, much more to be done - and done urgently - to educate, to prevent, and to care for those already infected. At the same time, you rightly look to the international community to do more to support Africa's efforts."

In a separate message issued to commemorate the Day, Mr. Annan underscored the progress being made in the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), especially in priority areas of agriculture, infrastructure, environment and health - "all key areas in reducing poverty, promoting social stability and improving the quality of life."


Video of meeting of the African Group [1hrs 30mins]