The challenges and opportunities for Africa’s peace and development were the focus of discussions between General Assembly President Ali Treki and Cameroonian President Paul Biya this week.
During the meeting yesterday in Yaoundé, the capital of the African nation, the two leaders emphasized that the continent’s true potential must be enhanced.
At the invitation of Mr. Biya, Dr. Treki, whose official visit to Cameroon wrapped up today, took part in the country’s 50th anniversary celebrations. Cameroon is one of 17 African countries that is marking five decades of independence this year.
Earlier today, the Assembly President attended a military and civilian parade commemorating Cameroon’s golden jubilee.
In a speech at the start of an international conference on Yaoundé focusing on African development on Tuesday, he called on the continent to take measures to play a more active role in world affairs, highlighting the UN’s historic role in the decolonization and independence of Africa.
At the same gathering, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro urged African nations to harness the continent’s “boundless potential” to put an end to brutal conflicts and make headway on the road to economic and social development.
“Without durable peace, there will be no sustained development, and without sustained development, Africa will not attain the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs),” Ms. Migiro said, referring to the targets to reduce poverty, hunger, disease and illiteracy that world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.
In September dozens of world leaders are expected to gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to chart the progress so far towards the MDGs and to spotlight the areas in which the most work still needs to be done.
In her keynote address to the Yaoundé conference, Ms. Migiro noted that Africa faces a number of challenges, including high rates of maternal and child mortality, lack of access to education, and the impact of climate change.
Africa also urgently needs an end to the brutal conflicts that have cost so many lives and destroyed so many hopes in recent decades, she added.