28 May 2013

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘No Problem in Africa that Cannot Be Solved by Potential of Africa’,


Says Secretary-General at fiftieth Anniversary Celebration


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the ceremony marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Organization of African Unity/African Union, in Addis Ababa on 25 May:

Today we mark half a century of African achievement.  As we celebrate twentieth-century heroes, giants and visionaries, we also look forward.  A new generation is taking the founders’ dreams into the twenty-first century.

Today, peace prevails in most African countries.  Democracy is deepening.  Civil society is mobilizing.  Economies are growing.  Incomes are rising.  The narrative is changing.  Hope is alive.

Of course, we know the challenges.  Too many African mothers still die in childbirth, and too many youth lack a job or an education.  Too many African families face insecurity and sexual violence.  And, too many institutions have not yet earned the full trust of citizens.  Climate change, desertification, water scarcity and environmental degradation are life and death realities.

But, I see a rising Africa rising to the challenges.  From the beginning, the United Nations has been your proud partner.  Our shared destination is clear:  lives of dignity, safety, freedom and opportunity for every single African; communities resilient in the face of disaster and discord; nations that help people realize their potential — above all women and youth; regions that unite on investment and infrastructure; economies that meet the needs of Africa’s people, today and tomorrow; and a continent that builds effective structures for peace, sustainable development and human rights.   A continent that achieves the Millennium Development Goals and whose aspirations are at the core of the post-2015 development agenda.

In my time as United Nations Secretary-General, I have had the honour of travelling the length and breadth of this magnificent, mesmerizing continent.  I have reached one conclusion above all:  there is no problem in Africa that cannot be solved by the potential of Africa.

Long live Africa!  Vive l’Afrique!  Tah-ya Afreeq-ya!  Longa Vida a Africa!  Viva África!  Lidumu bara la Afrika!

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For information media • not an official record