On eve of African development meeting, UN official calls for resolute leadership

19 September 2008

Resolute leadership is needed to transform existing commitments to meet African development needs into action, a senior United Nations official has stressed, days before a major United Nations General Assembly gathering on the issue.

Under-Secretary-General Cheick Sidi Diarra, the UN Special Adviser on Africa, told a press conference yesterday that Monday’s high-level meeting in New York on African development is expected to be attended by representatives of more than 160 countries, including many world leaders.

He said the meeting should serve to help streamline actions and upgrade priorities towards the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the internationally agreed plan to help improve the continent’s economic performance.

Mr. Diarra warned that Africa’s economic development still faces enormous obstacles, including violent conflict, internal public mismanagement and, in some cases, a lack of international support.

Her added that “resolution and leadership [is needed] to turn existing African and international commitments into results,” urging the international community to show greater support.

Many countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, are lagging in the race to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – such as the halving of extreme poverty – by the target date of 2015.

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