New York, 16 October 2017 – “The international world must change the way it looks at Africa. Africa is a place of opportunity,” said Mr António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations during the opening session of Africa Week in New York.
Africa Week commenced with a high level event on Supporting an Integrated, Prosperous, People-Centred and Peaceful Africa: Towards the Implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The rationale for this year’s theme for a prosperous African continent is one where different national economies are seamlessly integrated and the economic and social participation of all citizens is guaranteed and promoted. Governments and partners were therefore urged to work to ensure an environment in which entrepreneurship takes root and flourishes, as a means to stimulate economic growth and with a focus on peace and security.
In his opening remarks, Mr David Mehdi Hamam, Acting Special Adviser on Africa pointed out that the UN agenda is central for Africa’s prosperity and peace. “The question is not whether Africa can achieve its goals, but rather how we can facilitate the continent’s partnerships to achieve these goals. Africa is progressively overcoming its challenges towards the Africa We Want leading up to the World We Want,” Mr Hamam said.
In the same light, Mr Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly reiterated that, “Africa is rising. The World Bank has confirmed that after a period of stagnation, growth on the continent is on the up-swing. Africa is taking charge of its own development.”
Prof Victor Harison, Commissioner for Economic Affairs at the African Union Commission stated that achievements in Africa include implementation of the First Ten Year Plan of Agenda towards integration. “Industrialisation must spearhead development and rural infrastructure development will lead to greater transformation,’ Prof Harison said.
Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency focussed on what not to do in order for Africa’s transformation to be realised. He stressed on the need for countries not to implement solutions that contradict regional priorities, if integration is to be attained. With regards to people-centred transformation, Dr Mayaki called for the broadening of partnerships, that is, governments, private sector and civil society. In order to realise a peaceful continent, he emphasised on the need for raising sufficient levels of youth employment through labour intensive industries, coupled with inclusive governance.
Prof Mahamoud Youssouf Khayal, Chairperson, African Peer Review Panel of Eminent Persons, underscored the fact that both Agenda 2063 and 2030 Agenda are people centred, and the African Peer Review Mechanism for Africa is also people centred.
Ms Chinwe Esimai, Managing Director and Chief Anti-Bribery and Corruption Officer,
Citibank, made the point that through Agenda 2063, technology and innovations have the potential to root out corruption and contribute to prosperity.
The events of Africa Week present an opportunity for open discussion on issues that are in line with the implementation of goals set out in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These two Agendas are mutually reinforcing as they focus attention on inclusive and sustainable structural transformation across all dimensions of sustainability including governance, peace and security and sustainable development.