At General Assembly Debate on New Partnership for Africa’s Development, Speakers Say International Support Vital to Achieving Sustainable Development

Delegates Also Point to Trade, Infrastructure as Opportunities for Future Growth

Pledging to support an Africa that was stable, prosperous and at peace with itself, speakers today warned the General Assembly that poor infrastructure and trade barriers still hampered the continent's development, while challenges such as "brain drain" and terrorism threatened to reverse significant gains made since the turn of the millennium.

Indeed, a decade and a half into the African Union's "New Partnership on Africa's Development" (NEPAD), many delegates said more robust international cooperation was needed to help the continent achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and overcome the lingering effects of centuries of colonial exploitation.

Peter Thomson, President of the General Assembly, opening the meeting, said that while Africa's growth remained strong, unfavourable global conditions, such as volatile commodity prices, limited economic diversification and high levels of debt, risked undermining hard-fought development gains. "Tackling these issues will require efforts by both African countries and development partners," he said, calling on stakeholders to strengthen capacity-building and increase investment in infrastructure, health services, agricultural productivity and education.

Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa's Development Agency, declared that "the African continent is demonstrating that it is capable of economic, political and social transformation." Among other things, he described the Agency's efforts to boost African infrastructure development, engage the private sector and promote agriculture and rural development. Noting that the continent's lack of economic opportunities were leading young people to search for more prosperous futures elsewhere, he outlined programmes aimed at building innovative skills among young Africans.

A number of speakers pointed to trade as an important opportunity arena for Africa's future growth. In that vein, the representative of Niger, who spoke on behalf of the African Group, said many of the continent's recent development projects had been fuelled by the 2015 signing of a Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement between three subregional economic communities. While the continent had embarked on the domestication of the Sustainable Development Goals, he stressed that "no country or organization can hope to meet these challenges alone" and emphasized the importance of multi-stakeholder dialogue.

Thailand's representative, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, said African countries were among those most severely affected by global economic challenges and must have access to adequate and predictable resources to address poverty and hunger. Resources must be mobilized in financing, trade, debt relief and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, he said.

Other delegates drew attention to terrorism as one of the greatest threats facing Africa today, with Israel's representative pointing to the phenomenon as one of the common struggles his country shared with its African neighbours. Noting that long-term development and prosperity could not be achieved without stability, he emphasized the need to combat terrorism and pledged to share his country's knowledge and experience with Africa.

Cuba's representative, recalling centuries of colonialism and looting, emphasized that developed nations bore a "moral obligation" to support Africa. To this day, she said, some nations saw the continent as nothing more than a source of resources. "We must get rid of the philosophy of plunder and gain at all costs," she stressed, adding that the world's current economic policies and unbridled waves of privatization, together with the neoliberal colonial policies of developed nations, were responsible for Africa's precarious current situation.

For its joint discussion on Africa's development and the related item "2001-2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa", the Assembly had before it three reports of the Secretary-General: New Partnership for Africa's Development: fourteenth consolidated progress report on implementation and international support (document A/71/189); biennial report of the review of the implementation of the commitments made toward Africa's development (document A/71/203); and causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa (document A/71/211-S/2016/655).

Also speaking on those items today were the representatives of Guyana (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Brunei Darussalam (on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), United States, Kuwait, Russian Federation, India, Nigeria, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, France, Sierra Leone, Canada, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Cameroon and Zambia.

At the meeting's outset, Girma Asemrom Tesfay, the late Permanent Representative of Eritrea, who recently passed away, was remembered by colleagues.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled Mr. Tesfay as a "masterful diplomat" and negotiator who had helped to foster greater coordination between the Organization and Eritrea. Meanwhile, Mr. Thomson described the diplomat as a dedicated public servant who had represented Eritrea before the African Union, European Union, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, South Africa and the United States.

Eritrea's representative said Mr. Tesfay had been an accomplished and tireless fighter for his people and a champion for fairness and justice for all.

Also expressing condolences were the representatives of Niger (on behalf of the African States), Georgia (on behalf of Eastern European States), United Kingdom (on behalf of Western European and Other States), Kuwait (on behalf of Asia-Pacific States) and the United States (as host country).

In other business today, Lois Michele Young (Belize), General Assembly Vice-President, drew the body's attention to a note by the Secretary-General (document A/71/396) related to a vacancy resulting from the 30 September 2016 resignation of George Bartsiotas (United States) from the Joint Inspection Unit, in which she requested the President to submit a candidate's name to the Assembly for appointment after consultations with Member States. Further to that matter, the Assembly decided to fill the vacancy for term of office beginning on 1 January 2017, and expiring on 31 December 2021.

The Assembly will reconvene on Wednesday, 19 October at 10 a.m. to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Opening Remarks

PETER THOMSON (Fiji), President of the General Assembly, recalled that the international community had marked Africa Week 2016 by celebrating the continent's progress in sustainable development, human rights and the promotion of sustainable peace and security, as well as by discussing how the international community could help address the continent's persistent challenges. Fundamental to those discussions had been a focus on stronger strategic and operational partnerships - including through the longstanding New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). The body aimed to promote Africa-wide policies for growth by addressing priority areas such as macroeconomic policy, conflict prevention and resolution, the promotion of democracy and human rights, infrastructure and agricultural development and the empowerment of women and girls.

Commending the African Union's decision to align its Agenda 2063 with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said that in the 15 years since the New Partnership's adoption, the continent had experienced unprecedented economic growth and progress. Today, while Africa's growth remained strong, unfavourable global conditions - including trade and financing, volatile commodity prices, limited economic diversification and high levels of debt - risked undermining hard-fought development gains. "Tackling these issues will require efforts by both African countries and development partners," including the United Nations system, to strengthen capacity-building and increase investment in infrastructure, health services, regulatory reform, agricultural productivity and access to education.

Spotlighting efforts by African States to pursue a Continental Free Trade Area as well as enhanced international support through debt relief, foreign direct investment (FDI) and access to international markets, he said one of NEPAD's primary objectives was the empowerment of women and girls. Numerous challenges continued to hinder progress towards gender equality and women's empowerment in the continent, he noted in that regard, stressing that gender inequality in sub-Saharan Africa was estimated to be costing $95 billion per year. There was therefore a need to prioritize specific programmes to promote women's access to education and training and pursue the full realization of their rights.

For its part, he continued, the United Nations would push for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, particularly through such upcoming events as the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) Conference to be held in Ecuador next week and the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to be held in Morocco in November. The Organization would also be backing a series of signature events to lay the foundation for sustained implementation in key areas, including raising global awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and pursuing opportunities to secure better financing for sustainable development.


VIRACHAI PLASAI (Thailand), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, recognized the complementary nature between Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda. It was crucial to mobilize international support for the implementation of both and guarantee greater synergies between regional and international frameworks. African countries were among the most severely affected by unfavourable global economic conditions and must have access to adequate and predictable resources to address issues of poverty and hunger. Resources must be mobilized in financing, trade, debt relief and transfer of environmentally sound technologies. The Group emphasized the critical role of official development assistance (ODA) and FDI and expressed concern that both to Africa had declined in recent years. The Group urged those who had not fulfilled their commitments to step up efforts. North-South cooperation was important as well, the Group reiterated, underscoring that partnership lay at the core of global progress.

Africa's experience with industrialization had been low, posing numerous challenges in implementing the structural changes needed to revive the continent's economy, he said. Limited progress had been due to a lack of resources, capacities and geostrategic reasons. The Group supported the adoption of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa for the period 2016-2025 by the General Assembly which had the potential to address ways to ensure inclusive and sustainable industrialization. The Group welcomed the decision of the African Union to proclaim 2016 the year of human rights with a particular focus on the development and protection of women and girls. He stressed the need to develop and strengthen human and institutional capacities particularly in post conflict countries. Emerging challenges, particularly terrorism, required international support, he said, stressing the need for the United Nations to support Africa's regional and subregional organizations as they worked to combat terrorism. The international community also had a role in fighting and preventing malaria in Africa. Health and security were interconnected as they were at the heart of inclusive, sustainable development.

ABDALLAH WAFY (Niger), speaking for the African Group, said infrastructure development was among the prominent examples of the continent's countries making progress in the NEPAD priority areas. That progress, which had been fuelled by the signing of the Tripartite Free Trade Area Agreement, had contributed to boosting regional integration. Various degrees of progress had also been made in the areas of food security, agriculture, education and health, he said, underscoring that those efforts were taking place despite uncertain global economic conditions. Falling demand for commodities had reduced Africa's total exports by almost 30 per cent, he said, while FDI had decreased by 7 per cent, impacting growth rates and social expenditures.

"Africa has embarked on an important process to domesticate the Sustainable Development Goals," he continued, emphasizing the significance of multi-stakeholder dialogue at local, national and regional levels in advancing the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. "No country or organization can hope to meet these challenges alone," he stressed, noting that mobilizing adequate means of implementation was the greatest challenge in achieving the people-centred vision of those development agendas. Although African States had made progress in strengthening peace efforts and governance, they still faced serious peace and security challenges. "We must strive to enhance the collaboration between the United Nations and Africa in all areas of conflict prevention and resolution," he said. To that end, the development agendas would provide African Member States with "unique and complementary blueprints to tackle conflicts in a holistic manner by integrating development, peace, security and human rights into one actionable framework".

RUDOLPH MICHAEL TEN-POW (Guyana), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said it was encouraging that despite the difficult global economic environment in 2015, the international community had continued to support the implementation of NEPAD through financing, trade, debt relief and South-South cooperation. The progress made in infrastructure development, trade, a conflict-free Africa, gender equality and women's empowerment was testimony to the viability of the New Partnership and justified continued international support.

The Secretary-General, he said, had identified two major challenges to meeting the objectives of NEPAD: the lack of adequate financial support and the severe institutional and technical capacity constraints at the country level, in the African Union and the regional economic communities. Those challenges prevented effective implementation in all four thematic areas. CARICOM believed the significant improvements recorded in the areas backed by adequate resources justified the provision of additional support. The Community agreed with the Secretary-General's assessment that the full realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the targets for the 2030 Agenda and the aspirations of the Agenda 2063, would require concerted efforts by the African countries and the international community. He reaffirmed the commitment of CARICOM to continued collaboration with Africa to address the common challenges to peace and development and to contribute to a more prosperous and secure world.

DATO ABDUL GHAFAR ISMAIL (Brunei Darussalam), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said his group was encouraged that Africa continued to make economic strides despite the slowdown in the global economy and decline in commodity prices. The signing of the Tripartite Free Trade Area in 2015 had paved the way towards a Continental Free Trade Area by 2017 that would boost intra-African trade and promote trade opportunities globally.

"As we are working towards our ASEAN Community Vision 2015, there are many areas where ASEAN and Africa could cooperate," he said, noting the progress many African Member States had made in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It was vital that the collective efforts in achieving those goals would also transpire to obtaining the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. The Association therefore continued to support the efforts made by the New Partnership for Africa's Development to prioritize health, education and gender mainstreaming in its agenda.

TERENCE P. McCULLEY (United States) underscored Africa's centrality to global struggles against such challenges as climate change and armed conflict. He stressed that "Africa's rise is not just important to Africa, it is important to the entire world." Expressing support for the comprehensive approach NEPAD had taken in its four key areas of work, he provided concrete examples of the United States efforts to support Africa's development. Among those, he said its Feed the Future programme, which was focused on creating higher crop yields, had helped more than 3.6 million African farmers access new agricultural technologies in 2015. The Power Africa programme was mobilizing private sector resources to generate thousands of megawatts of clean energy. The United States had also allocated $3 million per African country to support climate change adaptation plans, and the President's Malaria Initiative had put forward a historic $1.2 billion expansion of resources to protect people in sub-Saharan Africa from that disease. Turning to other areas that were central to United States foreign assistance, he underscored the need for good governance and the "end the cancer of corruption" and spotlighted the importance of investments in women and girls, which resulted in marked improvements in families, communities and societies.

ANA SILVIA RODRIGUEZ ABASCAL (Cuba), associating herself with the Group of 77, said that, despite progress, many challenges persisted on Africa's road to sustainable development. Those included a chronic lack of resources, numerous obstacles to global markets, subsidies that distorted trade and falling levels of ODA. Calling upon all developed countries to comply with their commitments and step up their support for NEPAD, she said Cuba believed those nations had a "moral obligation" to support Africa after centuries of colonialism and looting. To this day, she said, some nations saw the continent as nothing more than a source of resources. "We must get rid of the philosophy of plunder and gain at all costs," she stressed, adding that the world's current economic policies and unbridled waves of privatization, together with the neoliberal colonial policies of developed nations, were responsible for Africa's current precarious situation. As many Cubans had roots in Africa, her country shared a special relationship with the continent, and it continued to provide it with many human, financial and other resources. Urging all Member States to do the same, she concluded by stressing that "Africa cannot continue to wait, let us act now".

MANSOUR AYYAD SH A ALOTAIBI (Kuwait) commended Africa's progress in the area of rule of law, education, health, agriculture and the empowerment of women. The 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 were long-term strategic visions and through their synergy would lead to the achievement of sustainable development. Mobilizing adequate resources would be critical for the development of infrastructure. Expressing concern over the lack of financial support to Africa in recent years, Kuwait believed it was critical for the international community to meet its commitments especially during current unfavourable economic conditions. The Secretary-General's report made clear that African countries faced particular weaknesses of productivity in the agricultural sector. Those countries also suffered from unemployment and climate change. Good governance, rule of law, human rights and the empowerment of women were essential to move ahead with development and achieve national, regional and global targets. For its part, Kuwait had provided assistance to developing and least developed countries, particularly in Africa, through its various aid agencies. Kuwait's overall contribution had reached $6.4 billion, he said, underscoring his country's historic relations with the African continent and Kuwait's observer status in the African Union. His country had also provided concessional loans as part of its commitment to African countries. However, more had to be done in the fields of health and food security. Kuwait would continue to support quality education and fight illiteracy in Africa.

SERGEY B. KONONUCHENKO (Russian Federation) said much had been done to implement sustainable development; however Africa remained vulnerable due to separatism, conflict, soil degradation and the ineffective use of water. It was critical to solidify development momentum as countries proceeded with both the global and regional agendas. African countries, without pressure from outside sources, must make their own development decisions while keeping in mind national priorities and regional partnerships. Welcoming the adoption of Agenda 2063, the Russian Federation said that a balance with the 2030 Agenda would be the most effective development solution. Inequality and poverty provided fertile ground for conflict, he said, urging the need to improve systems of public health and education. In that context, the Russian Federation expressed hope that African countries would continue to establish modern legislation. The Russian Federation would continue to provide support through traditional forms of assistance and look for new ways to help ease the debt burden of African States. His State had already forgiven more than $20 billon of African debt. It had also placed preferred tariffs on African goods, welcomed thousands of the continent's students in post-secondary institutions in Russia, and provided over one thousand scholarships to African students. In 2014, through the World Food Programme (WFP), the Russian Federation provided food assistance totalling $10 billion. His State was also among the first countries to respond to the Ebola virus.

MANJUNATH DENKANIKOTTA CHENNEERAPPA (India) said India and Africa represented one-third of humanity and their similar experiences and struggles translated into a similar scale of challenges and concern at the national and international levels. There were great synergies between Africa's Agenda 2063, the 2030 Agenda and the priorities being pursued by the Government of India. The India-Africa Strategic Partnership aimed to address many of the challenges that the African Union and India's Africa partners had identified. Over the past decade, nearly $9 billion in concessional credit was approved for nearly 140 projects in more than 40 African countries by India, with special emphasis provided to least developed countries and small island developing State partners. At the third India-Africa Forum Summit, held last October, India offered an additional $10 billion in concessional credits at more attractive terms and an additional 50,000 scholarships and grants-in-aid of $600 million over the next five years. Trade between Africa and India multiplied 20 times in the last 15 years and doubled over the last five years, reaching nearly $72 billion in 2015. That made India Africa's fourth-largest trading partner.

DAVID YITSHAK ROET (Israel), underscoring the importance of unlocking Africa's raw talent, said the continent shared with Israel a history of overcoming foreign occupation. Those common struggles continued even today, as both Africa and Israel worked to combat terrorism, cope with instability and strive for peace and prosperity. While African nations bore the primary responsibility for their social and economic development, the international community also had an obligation to develop the world and leave no one behind. Pledging to continue to support the continent in such as areas as agriculture, health, water, irrigation, tourism, cybersecurity and the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation, he recalled that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently hosted a special event at the United Nations on Israeli Innovation and Technologies in Africa. Israel had also launched, in partnership with Germany, the Africa Initiative aimed at mitigating such challenges as poverty and hunger, food insecurity and climate change. Noting that long-term development and prosperity could not be achieved without stability, he emphasized the need to combat terrorism "constantly and without pause" and expressed Israel's commitment to share its counter-terrorism knowledge and experience with its African neighbours.

ABEL ADE AYOKO (Nigeria), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that, "without a doubt", his continent was transforming. Leaders were demonstrating political will and the continent had witnessed unprecedented progress in political and socioeconomic development. However, the ongoing global economic downturn could reverse progress. He urged the United Nations and development partners to intensify their support and strengthen partnerships in areas of South-South and Triangular cooperation, increased intra-African trade, and most importantly, "silencing the guns" by 2020. The nexus between peace and development could not be clearer, he said, stressing that good governance remained a strategic goal for the security, stability and prosperity of the continent. The global community must strengthen Africa's capacity to address the root causes of conflict and resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. It could also do more to support African regional and subregional organizations as they worked to counter terrorism. Nigeria continued to support NEPAD as it demonstrated effective programme planning and unwavering political leadership. On social development, he said more remained to be done to fight malaria and assist in addressing weak health systems and the inequitable access to health services.

OMAR ANNAKOU (Libya), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, called the meeting extremely important as the world now moved from words to action. Agenda 2063 aimed to transform the continent towards peace and security. It was important to coordinate plans of actions, particularly the 10 year implementation plan of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda. It was critical to move those programmes into the operational stage of implementation. NEPAD had an important role to play to transform targets while taking into account the religious and national specificities of countries. Despite efforts made and progress achieved, the continent continued to face many challenges to implement the 2030 Agenda. Those challenges included high unemployment, weakness in the education sector, absence of basic services and weak infrastructure. Developed countries had to comply with their commitments to Africa, facilitate technology transfer in food security and enable youth and women to acquire the necessary skills to contribute to sustainable development. There was a close relationship between security and development. One could not be achieved without the other. Human rights, democracy and good governance must all be ensured. Despite Libya's economic issues and insecurity, it was committed to continue cooperating with African States. He also expressed concern over the "brain drain" phenomenon across Africa and particularly in Libya, which saw educated citizens flee to developed countries. Those educated citizens were assets in achieving development.

OMAR HILALE (Morocco), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said today's debate offered an opportunity to consider ways to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Africa as well as the continent's quest for peace and security. Underscoring the need to broaden NEPAD's partnership base, he said the industrialization of African economies would be particularly critical to lift millions of people out of poverty. Calling on Member States to honour their ODA commitments, he warned that the uptick of terrorism in Africa could compromise gains already made by the continent and emphasized the need to pursue all partnerships through the framework of national ownership. While African countries had contributed the least to climate change, they were among those suffering the most from its effects. Climate financing would therefore be critical to the continent's sustainable development. The Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC, to be held in Marrakesh in November, offered a chance to launch initiatives to make the Paris Agreement a reality and to focus in particular on Africa.

MOHAMED GAD (Egypt), associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said despite the relative improvement in peace and security in the continent, many parts of it still suffered from the effects of terrorism or, in some cases, foreign intervention. Spotlighting a number of efforts aimed to combat those challenges - including the establishment of good governance architecture - he said the continent had also contributed significantly to the negotiation and adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Describing efforts to combat malaria on the continent, he called on the international community to continue to provide technical and financial resources in that area. The 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 could not be achieved without mobilizing sufficient resources, including through ODA, support from international financial institutions, South-South cooperation, good management of natural resources, and through efforts to combat illicit financial flows.

PIERRE BUHLER (France) welcomed the reports of the Secretary-General and urged the General Assembly to act on the results of historic international conferences on development and climate change held in 2015. With the adoption of the first 10-year plan of the 2030 Agenda, the African Union had shown new will to put the continent on the trajectory of development, particularly in the areas of infrastructure, education, health and gender equality. Africa was a continent full of potential; however, there remained several obstacles and impediments to its development. He welcomed efforts undertaken to tackle forced migration, conflict and terrorism. It was also important to deal with their underlining causes. He emphasized the need to strengthen the role of women as drivers of peace in Africa. Many obstacles could be contributed to the shortage of infrastructure on the continent. African Governments must promote regional infrastructure projects and the international community must provide resources. He recalled President Hollande's appeal during the September general debate which urged the need to ensure that all Africans gained access to electricity and that the international community continued to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

MOHAMED GIBRIL SESAY (Sierra Leone), associating himself with the Group of 77 and African Group, said that eradicating poverty was the greatest global challenge. It was important to ensure stability and peace to meet development goals. While Africa had fast growing economies when the Millennium Development Goals were being implemented, environmental degradation, gender inequality and youth unemployment had endangered progress. "This time around we are determined to move faster with action," he said, emphasizing the need to strengthen statehood. A robust State was critical in recovering and rebuilding Governments so that they could deliver services in health and education. Sierra Leone was an example of how to move away from war and conflict. It was focused on fighting corruption, promoting good governance and transparency. Religious tolerance was a major pillar of stability, peace and security in Africa. Strengthening partnerships must take into account women's contribution in peace and acknowledge that women "hold up half the sky" in Africa. He urged the promotion of youth programmes, calling young people the continent's biggest asset and its best chance to overcome challenges. Sierra Leone had implemented the post-Ebola recovery plan and underscored the importance of implementing resilient systems. Malaria continued to be a major challenge that killed thousands, including children. He also noted that Sierra Leone had contributed almost nothing to global warming and yet climate change posed an existential threat to its very existence.

IBRAHIM ASSANE MAYAKI, New Partnership for Africa's Development Agency, said "the African continent is demonstrating that it is capable of economic, political and social transformation." As the African Union's technical body, his Agency was central to that transformation as well as to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on the continent. Recalling that the African Union's Agenda 2063 had set highly ambitious targets towards an "Africa we want" - namely, a continent that was stable, prosperous and at peace with itself - he said the two development agendas created a productive synergy and opened areas for collaborative action. Underlining infrastructure as one of Africa's top priorities, he said private sector investment would be critical in that regard and described recent initiatives aimed at de-risking infrastructure development projects, driving down costs and increasing logistical efficiency for operators working there.

Noting that agriculture and rural development continued to be key focus areas for the Agency, he described programmes including Grow Africa - which aimed to boost agribusiness development - and an initiative for nutrition security in the continent launched jointly with the Government of Japan. In preparation for the upcoming Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC in Morocco, the Agency planned to play a convening role to further implement the Paris Agreement as a Secretariat to the African Ministers of Environment Conference. Science, technology and innovation were also at the forefront of the Agency's efforts to achieve inclusive growth, he said, recalling efforts to embed those critical tools in Africa's implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. Expressing concern that the lack of meaningful economic opportunities on the continent led many young people to search for a more prosperous future elsewhere, he said the Agency's Technical and Vocational Education and Training Programme promoted the occupational prospects of young Africans through the development of innovative skills.

ANAR MAMDANI (Canada) commended early efforts of African nations to implement the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda was universal and every country must do its part to ensure that "no person be left behind". Her country would continue to invest its efforts for the poorest and most vulnerable, including promoting the role of women in peace dialogues. Investing in development alone was not enough. There was an interrelated nature between peace and security and development. Canada was working with African countries to address key drivers of insecurity and had recently announced its support to education programmes focusing on science and mathematics. Her Government had also pledged personnel to be deployed to Africa. It was currently exploring ways to strengthen key relationships, including with the African Union, and focusing on ways to promote good governance and democracy. Canada would remain a strong and dynamic partner for the continent as it embarked on its development plan.

MAHLATSE MMINELE (South Africa) said that his continent continued to contend with a variety of challenges such as poverty, high youth unemployment and rising inequality. NEPAD was an African strategic blueprint designed to contribute to the active participation of the continent's economies in the global economy. That blueprint was a deliberate corridor it had opened to enhance regional cooperation. South Africa was pleased that the New Partnership had developed coherent strategies to address development, he said, adding that there was no doubt its coherent policies would naturally complement the goals of the 2030 Agenda. However, financing needs to achieve that Agenda remained a major challenge, and aid alone would not be sufficient to eradicate poverty in all its dimensions. In that regard, he encouraged the international community to support innovative resources of finance in order to reduce the continent's reliance on ODA. There was a need for FDI given the critical role it played in creating jobs, he said, urging the international community to scale up their support to ensure the full implementation of the continent's industrialization and infrastructure programmes.

RUSLAN BULTRIKOV (Kazakhstan) said Africa was no doubt the engine of the twenty-first century, and that his State was ready to assist the continent to overcome its regional challenges. Kazakhstan and the African States shared the same goals of durable peace and sustainable economic growth, and their people-centred visions, the African Union's Agenda 2063 and his country's 2050-vision, ran parallel to each other. His nation had called for the strengthening of the African Union's capacities and it would continue to mobilize all efforts to help the region, he said, underscoring that the main impediments to sustainable progress were poverty, climate change and that a large number of the least developed countries were part of the continent. To that end, capacity-building and technology transfer were important polices to help the continent and South-South cooperation was among the most effective ways to achieve sustainable development. Despite being the largest landlocked country, Kazakhstan had achieved growth and would be able to transfer its knowledge to help African States in strengthening their respective economies.

MICHEL TOMMO MONTHE (Cameroon) said that after the so-called lost decade of the 1980s, which was marked by deep pessimism, Africa had returned to strength and vigour. The continent had become strong and prosperous and hoped that its bilateral and multilateral partners would continue to support it on that path. The cessation of hostilities by 2020, achieving peace and security, fighting against terrorist groups, and promoting good governance, democracy and rule of law were goals that required active work. "Nobody should be left without recourse," he said, stressing that the adage held truth especially at the economic and social levels. Innovation and technology were put at the very centre of Africa's transformation. African Heads of State approved strategies to finance infrastructure and develop programmes to guarantee investment in regional projects. On industrialism, he said it was indispensable to transform economies to produce added value. Industrialization must aim to create inclusive and lasting economic change and pull millions out of poverty. He welcomed investments in the agricultural and health sector. Cameroon took part in a project that trained nurses and midwives. The drying up of Lake Chad and desertification deserved international attention. Welcoming the decline in malaria cases in women and children, he outlined several ways Cameroon was fighting the disease, including by World Health Organization (WHO) protocols, training community volunteers and distributing diagnosis kits and mosquito nets.

ELIPHAS CHINYONGA (Zambia) outlined several national initiatives in agriculture and food security, climate change, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. His country was prioritizing work towards reducing malaria related deaths countrywide and was on its way to achieving a malaria-free Zambia by 2020. It was also proactively strengthening its health systems and human capital development to reduce the mismatch between skill development and the needs of the labour market. Gender equity and equality was a priority in national development as well. He welcomed the conclusion of the tripartite agreement between NEPAD, World Bank and the Southern African Development Community for the implementation of regional programmes. Noting that the process of integrating NEPAD into the African Union structures and processes had been slow, he said that international support to facilitate the inclusion of realistic timelines for concluding the matter would be useful.

Source: United Nations.

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