Annan urges Africa to build on development momentum

Banjul- The Gambia (PANA) -- UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Saturday urged Africa to develop a "comprehensive strategy for the future" so the continent can build on the progress it has already achieved.
Addressing the 7th AU Summit in Banjul, Annan said such strategy must give equal weight and attention to the "three pillars of development, security and human rights".
"The human family cannot enjoy security without development, cannot enjoy development without security and cannot enjoy or sustain either in the longer term without respect for human rights and the rule of law," he said in his last address to the summit as he is due to step down in December as UN Secretary- General after 10 years in office.
He said the strategy to be adopted must give full force to Africa's "third wave", which he defined as the era of progress and development after the first wave of colonisation and the second wave of civil wars and tyranny of military dictatorships Annan said that since he first addressed the summit in Harare 2 June 1997, Africa had made a great stride in the areas of development, security and human rights.
He listed the progress in development as including the focus on regional integration, which is the theme of the Banjul summit, 100 percent debt cancellation for 14 African nations and debt relief for eight others, as well as increased enrolment ratio for primary education.
The UN Secretary-General also mentioned the drop in HIV/AIDS prevalence in many African countries, rising GDP and the over 200% increase in the flow of direct investments to Africa.
On security, Annan hailed the "dramatic" drop in the number of violent conflicts, while saying Africans had demonstrated that "human rights are African rights".
But he said there were still daunting challenges, including extreme poverty, spread of HIV/AIDS in relation to efforts to curtail it as well as the conflicts in Darfur, Cote d'Ivoire, Somalia and northern Uganda.
The UN Secretary-General said, therefore, that under the third wave, men and women should live free from want "so that the death sentences of extreme poverty and infectious diseases are lifted from their lives.
" Rounding off his speech, Annan said: "I will no longer be Secretary-General of the United Nations but, as long as I have strength, I will keep working with you to reach that destination.

01 july 2006 13:27:00

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