Africa Day story
6/9/2012 9:00:59 AM -
Accra, June 8, GNA - Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) Ban Ki-moon, has commended Africa's recent efforts to consolidate its peace and security architecture, and to reject unconstitutional changes of power.
He acknowledged the achievements of the people and Governments of Africa and reaffirmed support for their efforts to build a better future.
In a message read by Deputy UN Secretary-General Asha-rose Migiro, on behalf of the UN Secretary-General at a ceremony to mark Africa Day at the UN Headquarters, New York, Ki-moon assured that "The United Nations will continue to work with Africa in building durable peace, ending armed conflicts, boosting democracy, and promoting respect for fundamental human rights, especially the rights of women and youth".
A statement from the UN, copied to Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra on Friday, said the Day was marked by an exhibition of various kinds of African cuisines, prepared by spouses of Ambassadors, cultural display and musical performance by the Batoto Yetu, a cultural group made up of 25 children.
The UN Secretary-General said: "Africa is a dynamic continent undergoing fundamental transformation. Even during the world economic crisis, Africa's economies continued to expand, and growth forecasts remained positive.
"However, the benefits were not reaching all Africans. Poverty, hunger, and disparities in health, education, and participation in society, were preventing hundreds of millions of Africans from fully realizing their potential."
Mr Ban Ki-moon said that greater effort were needed by all to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
"The growing number of success stories across Africa indicates that broader social and economic progress is realistically attainable for most Africans. I have personally seen the dividends of investing in women's and children's health and sustainable agriculture. I have spent many hours with African leaders, who are committed to peace, human rights, democracy and good governance.
"The challenge is to extend these advances and ensure they reach all Africans, especially the continent's poorest and most vulnerable people. In particular, we must address the problem of hunger - from the highly visible periodic food emergencies to the hidden disgrace of stunting that is affecting a new generation of African children."
Many of these issues, the Secretary-General noted were on the table at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development next month in Brazil.
Mr Ban Ki-moon said: "Rio+20 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to mould the future we want - a future where climate change and desertification are no longer threats; where devastating maternal and child mortality, and diseases such as TB and HIV and AIDS, are consigned to the past; where all people have access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
"From renewable energy to thriving oceans, from empowered women to productive partnerships between Governments, civil society and business, Rio+20 is our chance to deliver for all, particularly Africa. On this observance of Africa Day, as the world tries to forge a renewed global partnership for sustainable development, I pledge to work with Africa's leaders and people to implement an agenda that addresses Africa's needs - an agenda that will set the continent on the path to the future we all want: dynamic, equitable and sustainable growth that benefits all Africans."
Mr Ismael A. Gasper Martins, Chairman of the Africa Group of Ambassadors at the UN said that the African continent was determined to overcome the challenges it faced based on recent positive developments and the wind of change blowing through the continent since the beginning of this century.
He said that Africa today was far from fear and want, a united and prosperous Africa at peace with itself and with the rest of the
Mr Martins, who doubles as Angola's Ambassador Permanent Representative at the UN said: "Africa's leadership and vision to meet today's challenges and tomorrow's uncertainties as well as opportunities remains indispensable as we endow ourselves with the requisite capacity in order to take the bold steps that the changing international landscape demands.
"The sustenance of this African Renaissance will certainly crystalize our vision of a united, strong and prosperous Africa, the large and increasing population of Africa, coupled with the continent's enormous national resources, endowment as well as the intensity of institution building at the continental and sub-region levels as a source for our optimism about the future."
He reaffirmed the need for all daughters and sons of Africa both on the continent and the Diaspora to enhance innovative partnerships based on shared values at bilateral and multilateral levels.
The Angolan Ambassador said: "Moreover, we are conscious of the need to remain steadfast and guard against the deceptive comfort of status quo offers, as it erodes our capacity to explore innovative solutions and better anticipate the future."
Mrs Beatrice Bukiwe Sangqu, President of the UN African Ambassadors Spouses Group, said "Africa's time has come and now is the time to join hands and build a better Africa."
She noted that Africa had become a continent of hope that was making strides to rid her of the scourge of poverty, conflict, disease and other ills.
Mrs Sangqu, who is the wife of South African Ambassador, noted that "Today, Africa, the source of civilization no longer fitted the description of the dark continent as she had progressed immensely to the disappointment of the "doomsayers and the elation of the well-wishers."