Senior UN officials take part as African economic forum opens

5 May 2010

Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro is in Tanzania to take part in the latest World Economic Forum on Africa, which got under way today in Dar es Salaam with a dozen heads of State and government from across the continent participating.

This Forum, the 20th of its kind, will examine how leaders are tackling the development challenges facing Africa and explore ways of using the economic crisis as an opportunity to redesign a road map for the continent’s future in the global economy. The theme of the three-day Forum is “Rethinking Africa’s Growth Strategy.”

Ms. Migiro is expected to speak during panel discussions and brainstorming sessions focusing on public sector leadership, the empowerment of girls and continental cooperation. She will also hold bilateral meetings with Tanzanian Government officials as well as other visiting dignitaries.

More 1,000 participants from 85 countries are attending the Forum, hosted by Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete. “Africa is a continent full of potential. Africa has been growing despite the economic instability that is facing the world today. We will have the opportunity to examine the strategy of Africa for today to ensure that there is a better tomorrow,” Mr. Kikwete said at the opening session.

Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and one of the Forum’s co-chairs, emphasized that urbanization was one of the key challenges facing Africa.

“Africa is urbanizing faster that any other continent, so much so that by 2030, Africa will cease to be a rural continent,” Mrs Tibaijuka told a news conference.

“Despite this, few African leaders are taking the issue seriously,” she said. “It is time that policymakers include plans for balanced territorial urban development. This is one of the keys to economic growth, especially as investment in infrastructure and housing in African cities provides a great opportunity for the private sector,” Mrs. Tibaijuka added.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization that tries to bring about positive change in the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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