Ki-moon says Africa can forge solutions to own challenges

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - Africa has the experience to forge solutions to its own challenges and contribute to global goals of inclusive growth, social justice and protecting the environment, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told African leaders here Sunday at the opening session of the 20th Summit of the African Union (AU).

"Africa can draw inspiration from its record of achievements to manage the many complex transitions ahead," said Ban, noting that many countries on the continent have made important gains towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), more children were in schools, more clinics were helping women survive childbirth and more women get into government and key decision-making positions.

However, the UN chief stated that he was still concerned about hundreds of millions of Africans living in poverty.

Ban urged African leaders to accelerate efforts as the world nears the 2015 deadline of attaining the MDGs and said that success will depend on ownership by governments and civil society.

"Our destination is clear. A future where Africa's wealth enriches all of Africa's people. Where misrule is only found in history books. Where Africa's goods get a fair price on global market. Where global partnerships mean shared prosperity," he said.

African countries averaged 5 percent growth over the past decade and, according to UN studies, are projected to grow by even more than 5 percent by 2014.

In spite of this projection, Ban said expansion should not be an end in itself. "Wealth cannot remain in the hands of the few. Inequality is a recipe for instability," he cautioned.

The Secretary-General applauded the African Group at the UN for leading the General Assembly's adoption of its first-ever resolution calling for an end to female genital mutilation.

He said the world should stand against all forms of violence and speak out against rape and sexual violence in conflict.

"Governments must support victims and end the culture of impunity. I urge the males here to join my Network of Men Leaders and all to support our COMMIT to End Violence against Women campaign," he added.

On the conflict in Mali, the UN scribe said the UN was determined to do all it could to help the people of that country as humanitarian agencies continued to help suffering victims.

"The UN has sent specialists on the military and political tracks. This is a moral imperative for all in the international community," he said, assuring of the organisation's commitment to undertake a major system-wide effort  for peace-building, governance and security sector reform, physical reconstruction and regional cooperation.

Regarding Somalia, Ban said the UN and the AU continue to work closely together since better security helped to solidify Somalia's democracy.

He said later this month he will present recommendations to the Security Council on a new UN presence in Somalia, including ways to strengthen the UN-AU partnership on the ground.

"I will work to secure urgently needed funding for AMISOM," he pledged.
-0- PANA AR/VAO 27Jan2013

27 january 2013 09:44:04




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