On the last full day of his official visit to Tanzania today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the country a model for overcoming some of Africa's thorniest challenges in a press conference in the country's capital, Dar es Salaam.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Ban also visited Zanzibar, where he met with President Amani Abeid Karume and opened a “One UN” office on the island, and briefly sat in on the UN tribunal on the Rwandan genocide, which is based in the Tanzanian city of Arusha.
At the press conference in Dar es Salaam, Mr. Ban saluted President Jakaya Kikwete and the Tanzanian people for their mediation role in the peace processes in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe.
He said that the country was also on its way to achieving a good many of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of ambitious targets to reduce extreme poverty and other global ills by 2015, on which much of Africa was lagging.
“One of the striking examples is Tanzania's massive gains in primary education enrolment – 97.2 per cent in 2008 – which puts it right on track to reach universal primary education, an exemplary model for other African countries,” he said, adding that gender parity had been reached at the same time, in primary education.
Flying over Mount Kilimanjaro, he was reminded, however, of the great threat to the continent posed by climate change and urged the Tanzanian Government to continue its efforts in that area.
“I saw almost no snow or ice on the Kilimanjaro. I thought of the small farmers deprived of a precious reserve of water. I was told of villages on the slope of the mountain, now plagued with malaria, where none existed before.
“I am also impressed by the results so far of the One UN reform process that a small group of countries, including Tanzania, are piloting. This unique and experimental process ensures that UN agencies in a given country are not just housed together but also work in a more coherent, focused, and strategic manner. It also ensures that their work is in line with the needs and priorities of their host country.”
He said he was proud to have inaugurated one such office in Zanzibar, but Tanzania was also piloting that initiative.
In Mr. Ban's brief press encounter in Arusha, home of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), he appealed to countries in the region to cooperate with the Tribunal by transferring fugitive suspects to be tried there. “It is important in the name of humanity and to bring justice for all,” he said.
Continuing on his African tour, which began in South Africa, the Secretary-General will travel to the DRC and Rwanda over the weekend, and afterwards attend an international conference on Gaza's reconstruction, which takes place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Monday.