Africa on the rise – UN Secretary-General


Africa is “on the move and on the rise” with communities coming together to resolve problems and offer mutual support, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said this week.

He urged all with a stake in Africa’s success to seize new opportunities and work with people on the continent for the common good.

Alongside progress and resilience on the back of stability and improved governance, parts of Africa remain fragile with challenges to overcome he told the inaugural Africa Dialogue Series at UN Headquarters in New York.

The two-day series focuses on the nexus between peace, security, human rights, humanitarian aid and development on the continent. It replaces Africa Week launched in 2010.
“The volatility of financial markets, looming trade conflicts and high levels of debt in some countries are causing concern over economies that may be vulnerable to shocks. The widening impacts of climate change will create additional strains in the years ahead,” he said.
“Inclusive, sustainable development in Africa is a goal unto itself. It is also a leading tool to prevent conflict and crises,” added the UN chief.

On sustainable development, the Secretary-General noted the synergies between the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the AU’s Agenda 2063 and said the policies and approaches of the organisations “are more closely aligned than before”.

Turning to the UN-AU partnership on peace and security, Guterres gave examples from the Central African Republic and South Sudan where the UN is working with African-led initiatives.
“I will continue to advocate strongly for predictable, sustained and flexible financing for AU-led peace support operations authorised by the Security Council. These operations contribute to global security and deserve multilateral support,” he said.

Briefing on the theme of the dialogue and expected outcomes, Bience Gawanas the UN Special Adviser on Africa, said the Dialogue “bears testimony of the desire to engage with the UN to realise a prosperous and peaceful Africa.”
“Africa is changing and it is seeking to achieve peace, prosperity and socio-economic transformation,” she said, urging all to work together in a coherent and co-ordinated response to challenges.

María Fernanda Espinosa, President of the 73rd session of the General Assembly spoke on the central role of Africa in the multilateral system highlighting the importance of stronger and more collaborative efforts between the AU and the UN.

Such efforts will strengthen multilateralism, she said.

Espinosa said revitalisation processes at both institutions was underway and expressed hope the end result will allow them to “work together on behalf of all people.”
“Our focus remains the same as yours: to ensure the UN is reflective of and relevant to the needs of all people,” she said.

Inga Rhonda King, President of the Economic and Social Council underlined the importance of synergies between UN’s 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063 of the AU.
“The Economic and Social Council has an important role to play in sustaining peace and promoting sustainable development in Africa,” she said, noting collaboration with other entities of the UN system and beyond to develop solutions to development and humanitarian challenges in the continent.

Noting the focus of next year’s High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on Sustainable Development Goals on jobs, inequality, justice, climate change, education and partnerships, she called on African countries to share lessons learned and ideas on advancing the 2030 Agenda.

Also at the Dialogue, Sacha Sergio Llorenty, Permanent Representative of Bolivia and President of the Security Council for October, spoke of the link between peace, security and development.

He highlighted the importance of women and young people in peace and development efforts in Africa and called for political support at the highest level to ensure their meaning participation.

He also said partnerships are critical to overcome challenges on the continent, illustrated by the G5 Sahel Joint Task Force and the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).