Press Releases

17 September 2002


NEW YORK, 16 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the statement of Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the meeting of the General Assembly devoted to the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) in New York on 16 September:

I am delighted to join you for this important meeting dedicated to exploring ways in which the international community can support the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), so as to bring the maximum benefit to the people of Africa.

This partnership is first and foremost a partnership between African leaders and their peoples, and between States within Africa. In addition, NEPAD envisages a new partnership between Africa and the international community, especially the highly industrialized countries -- based on mutual respect and interdependence, as well as transparency and accountability, including peer review and performance monitoring among both African countries and international partners.

The NEPAD has adopted the Millennium Development Goals as the centrepiece of Africa’s development agenda. I warmly welcome this decision, because I believe there is a symbiotic relationship between NEPAD and the Millennium Development Goals. The NEPAD will not be a success if Africa fails to achieve the Goals -- and the world as a whole cannot achieve the Goals unless they are achieved in Africa.

Two separate, but related, priorities -- combating HIV/AIDS and promoting girls’ education -- are particularly central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and realizing the promise NEPAD holds for all of Africa.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic has now become the greatest threat to Africa’s development. It is not just a threat to people’s health, but also, in many African countries, to their national security and very survival. The HIV/AIDS has reversed the major gains in child survival and socio-economic progress achieved during the past two-to-three decades. It has exacerbated the problems of poverty, discrimination, malnutrition and sexual exploitation of girls and women. It is devastating the education system, as teachers are dying or disabled more quickly than they can be replaced.

Conversely, the social benefits of girls education include increased family incomes, delayed marriage, reduced fertility, lower infant and maternal mortality, better nourished and healthier children, greater opportunities and life chances for women, and greater participation of women in political, social and economic decision-making.

Besides being key Millennium Development Goals in their own right, promotion of girls education and control of HIV/AIDS would be the most powerful enablers for the achievement of all the other Millennium Development Goals in Africa.

By framing its aims around the Millennium Development Goals, NEPAD challenges Africa’s development partners to deepen their commitment to global poverty reduction. The NEPAD’s stated objective is to achieve the overall 7 per cent annual growth necessary for Africa to meet one of the Millennium Development Goals -- halving poverty by 2015. Meeting this target requires more than doubling Africa’s recent growth rates.

What now remains is for the principles of NEPAD to be converted into action, so that NEPAD makes a real difference for ordinary people in Africa. The implementation of NEPAD can benefit from two of the lessons learned by the United Nations and others involved in Africa’s development over the past decade.

First, peace and security are vital to development. Economic programmes and projects devised by the New Partnership must be combined with real progress towards ending conflicts and deepening the roots of peace.

Second, development cooperation requires a new orientation. Through NEPAD, African leaders have shown that they consider political and economic reforms as essential if lasting development is to be achieved. They have stressed human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy. They have reaffirmed the importance of government with the consent and the authority of the governed. Increasingly, African leadership has itself spoken out against corruption and bad governance, and there is growing emphasis on ensuring accountability and transparency. The international community must strengthen its support for this effort. That is what the partnership should mean.

Africa’s future will be determined by Africans. To build this future, to end the conflicts, cure the diseases and alleviate the multiple hardships that have held it back, Africa will need all the wisdom, political will and creativity it can muster.

It will also need the support of the developed world in an effort that is grounded in a sober and realistic assessment of what needs to be done. In this age of globalization, even the richest and most powerful countries ignore the challenges and crises of other parts of the world at their own peril. At the same time, opportunities for growth and innovation exist everywhere -- and all of us can benefit from each other’s successes. Let us make NEPAD a shining example of this global truth.

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