Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for accelerated efforts to reach international development goals to usher in a century of flourishing on the continent.
"You have chosen the fitting theme of Meeting Africa's New Challenges in the 21st Century," he told the first joint meeting of African Union (AU) and ECA ministers of finance in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in a video address.
"Together, by stepping up efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals throughout the continent, we can and must make the 21st century the African century," he said," referring to the internationally-agreed goals to sharply cut poverty and other global ills by the year 2015.
ECA, with its mandate of promoting Africa's social and economic development, occupies a unique place on the continent as the first intergovernmental pan-African agency and the home of Africa Hall, birthplace of the Organization of African Unity, Mr. Ban noted.
In its 50 years of existence, it has generated ideas, helped establish other institutions, and "has addressed challenges ranging from the Millennium Development Goals to climate change, from women's empowerment to job creation, from governance to HIV/AIDS," the Secretary-General said.