Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon lauded a new report which outlines steps to be taken by Africa and its development partners to help lift millions of people across the continent out of poverty.
The recommendations by the Commission on Effective Development Cooperation with Africa include creating an African Guarantee Fund in partnership with the African Development Bank, ensuring access to energy, and unleashing the power of African entrepreneurship.
Ban called the recommendations “far-reaching,” adding that if implemented conscientiously, such steps will help mitigate the effects of the economic crisis and help to lift millions of people out of poverty.
Speaking at the presentation of the report in New York, the Secretary-General warned that the gains made by African countries over the past decade are being threatened by climate change, armed conflict, political upheaval and crises involving food, fuel and the global economy.
“Investments are declining, businesses are struggling to survive and jobs are being lost,” he said. “Africa and its development partners must act urgently to promote stability, prosperity and peace.”
He welcomed the report’s emphasis on youth employment and opportunities for young people, noting that recent figures show that more than 60% of those unemployed in sub-Saharan Africa are below the age of 24.
“This terrible waste of human resources is visible on the streets of the continent’s cities. Africa needs its young people to get to work on its behalf,” said Ban.
He called on Africa’s leaders to show the “bold leadership” required to intensify the fight against poverty, while urging the donor community to help implement the report’s recommendations, including through financial and technical aid.
The UN will continue to be Africa’s “close and enduring partner” in this important effort, he added.
Launched in 2008 by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the Commission comprises heads of State and government, politicians, experts, representatives from international and regional organisations, as well as the business community, civil society and the academic world.