Press Releases

                                                                                                                            14 May 2004

    Welcoming Positive Developments in Africa, Secretary-General Calls for Fairer Trade, Greater Aid, Debt Relief in Africa Day Message

    Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s message on Africa Day, 25 May:

    NEW YORK, 13 May (UN Headquarters) -- This year’s Africa Day is an occasion to celebrate a range of welcome developments on the continent. The African Union is taking root, with many of its institutions already established. The Pan-African Parliament has been inaugurated as a platform for the articulation of the aspirations of the peoples of Africa. And a woman has been elected as the Parliament’s first Speaker.  Commendable progress has also been made in the implementation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, or NEPAD, especially in the priority areas of agriculture, infrastructure, environment and health -- all key areas in reducing poverty, promoting social stability and improving the quality of life. And we have seen the establishment of the African Peer Review Mechanism, one of NEPAD’s most important and innovative features, with the aim of fostering the adoption of policies and practices leading to political stability, economic growth, accountability, good governance and democracy.

    But of course, much remains to be done. We must keep striving to address both HIV/AIDS and the persistence of violent conflict in various parts of Africa, which continue to hold back development by destroying social and economic infrastructures, diverting resources and tearing asunder the social and cultural fabric of affected societies.  And the international community must continue to complement the efforts made by Africans themselves, through fairer trade, greater aid and significant debt relief.  On this Africa Day, let us rededicate ourselves to that partnership and that agenda.

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