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UN chief commends Africa's progress, stresses need for accelerated growth

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

UN chief commends Africa's progress, stresses need for accelerated growth

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended African countries for their continuous progress over the past 50 years while stressing that many challenges remain in the continent and accelerated action is needed to tackle them.

“Several African countries are among the world's fastest growing economies, defying the global downturn. Opportunity beckons for ever greater numbers of people, and ever more international investors are taking notice,” Mr. Ban said yesterday evening in his remarks at the Africa Day celebrations in New York marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the African Union (AU). The Day is traditionally observed on 25 May.

“Of course, deep challenges persist. But Africa's overall trajectory is clear. Africans are writing a new narrative in their history.”

“Fifty years ago, the founders of the Organization of African Unity showed great resolve and collective purpose in leading the world against colonialism and apartheid,” Mr. Ban said. “Let us all show similar solidarity and conviction today in working to improve well-being and opportunity for all Africans.”

Mr. Ban praised the declining poverty rates in the continent, as well as improvements in addressing deadly diseases. However, he noted that there are still areas where there is conflict, and the underlying causes need to be resolved to achieve lasting peace.

“I know that Africans are determined to strengthen democracy, protect human rights, fight corruption and enhance governance,” he said.

“The United Nations will continue to work with you to ensure the equitable distribution of resources, increase agricultural productivity, and tap the talents of Africa's people, especially women and youth.”

Mr. Ban, who was in Ethiopia last month to mark the AU's 50th anniversary, emphasized the need to accelerate efforts to achieve the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ensure that Africa's priorities and concerns are reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.

“Achieving these objectives will require considerable effort and investment, and I continue to urge the international community and private sector to fully support this cause,” he added.