Africa’s vision getting close to reality – UN General Assembly President
66October 21, 2017
UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajčák says the vision of a transformed Africa is close to reality, citing Africa’s transformative changes facilitated by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
Lajčák, while addressing the final event of this year’s Africa Week in the United Nations at its Headquarters in New York, acknowledged the importance of NEPAD in the continent’s development.
NEPAD was established in 2001 and later integrated into the African Union (AU)’s structure to facilitate and coordinate the implementation of continental and regional priority projects.
He said that the AU’s development agency predated the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 by more than a decade.
“NEPAD was something of a trailblazer since its adoption in 2001; NEPAD has led to transformative change.
“For example, NEPAD’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme has improved agricultural productivity on the continent, changing the lives of many African farmers.
“Additionally, NEPAD has led to big strides in the integration of African trade.
“The finalisation of the tripartite free trade agreement this summer among the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC) was an important step.
“The continental free trade area is no longer a distant dream. It could very soon be a reality,” Lajčák said.
Lajčák said, however, that faster progress needed to be seen, not only in the two sectors of agriculture and trade but also in infrastructure, industry, economic diversification and poverty eradication.
He pointed out that no development in Africa could be effective unless it was led from within, adding however that there had been many exciting developments at the national level.
“African countries are also building their capacities for domestic resource mobilisation, and tackling illicit financial flows.
“Yet, in an increasingly globalised world, the efforts within Africa need to be supported by a revitalised partnership with development partners, including UN bodies and Member States as well as by investment, financial and technical assistance.
“Also the root causes of conflict and suffering must be addressed,’’ Lajčák said.
According to him, the signing of a trade agreement will mean little to a mother whose young child is very sick from malaria.
Lajčák said that foreign direct investment would not be in the mind of someone running from bullets in a war zone.
“Africa has a very clear vision, one which involves all layers of society benefiting from growth and development; one in which malaria or other diseases do not serve as death sentences for hundreds of thousands of people every year.
“One in which early warning signs of conflict lead more often to successful mediation than to violence; and one in which institutions are strong, women and youths both lead and participate in good governance and is the norm.
“This vision is getting closer to reality,” he stressed.
The plenary featured a debate by UN Member States on NEPAD as well as the decade 2001to 2010 to roll back malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa.