Press Releases

    15 January 2004

    Good Governance, Human Resources Development, Peaceful Environment Would Encourage Foreign Investment, Secretary-General Tells West African Summit

    (Delayed in translation.)

    NEW YORK, 14 January (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of a message by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to the West African Economic and Monetary Union Summit in Niamey, Niger, on 10 January, delivered by René Guiraud, Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Niger:

    It is my great pleasure to convey to all of you my warm greetings on the occasion of this important summit, which marks the tenth anniversary of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

    In the 10 years of its existence, the Union has achieved remarkable progress, including the establishment of an operational customs union characterized by free circulation of goods, a common external tariff and a common trade policy; a commitment to economic convergence, stability, growth and solidarity; and the adoption of common sectoral policies in fields such as energy, mining, agriculture, industry, transportation and telecommunications, health, education and the advancement of women.

    I applaud this progress and encourage you to consider practical measures to strengthen further the solidarity among your countries and accelerate the achievement of the goals you have set for yourselves, including the goals of harmonizing macroeconomic policies, liberalizing trade and improving transportation and communication infrastructures.  Full realization of the vision that inspires the Union is an important factor in the economic and social development of the region and in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which were adopted by joint agreement by all countries of the world.

    There are, however, other equally decisive factors, namely, political and economic good governance, human resources development and the establishment of an environment of peace, security and stability that would encourage foreign investment.  These goals are central to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which enjoys the full support of the international community.

    You may be confident that the United Nations system will continue to support African efforts towards development.  I am convinced that together we can meet the many challenges facing the continent and offer all of its peoples prospects for a better future.  I wish you fruitful discussions.

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