10 June 2010 Africa, with its limitless potential, can achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in Cameroon today, calling for “less talk, more action” to help the continent meet the globally-backed targets.
“As I see it, delivering for the people of Africa is a matter of commitment,” Mr. Ban told Cameroon’s National Assembly.
“Africa’s people need neither pity nor charity,” he said in the capital, Yaoundé. “They need only the tools to create jobs and generate incomes.”
Developed countries must follow through on their aid commitments and also ensure that African products are not priced out of markets by heavy import taxes, the Secretary-General stressed.
The continent requires a “true partnership,” one where donors listen to recipients and adapt their help to Africa’s needs, he said.
Mr. Ban noted that of the MDGs – eight targets agreed on by world leaders with a 2015 expiration date – maternal health is the area that has lagged the furthest behind. “Yet if we can succeed here, we will touch off a virtuous ‘ripple-effect’ through all the Goals.”
He also underscored that “Africa, too, has a promise to keep,” since sustainable development initiatives can only successful if there is both peace and good governance.
The Secretary-General hailed the continent’s shift from a principle of “non-interference” to one of “non-indifference,” calling for Africa to continue to building on this momentum.
He underscored the need for peaceful, credible and transparent elections, noting that “we cannot allow the will of the people to be thwarted by electoral fraud.”
He also spoke out against unconstitutional changes of government, corruption, nepotism and tyranny.
“Without sustained development, Africa will not attain the Millennium Development Goals,” Mr. Ban said. “And without achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Africa will not find the promise and prosperity that its people so richly deserve.”
While in Cameroon, he met with President Paul Biya and visited the city of Mbalmayo to see first-hand the UN’s work on a range of MDG-related projects in areas such as water, income generation and gender empowerment.
The Secretary-General, who arrived in the country from Burundi, also met with UN staff members.
He will return to South Africa, where he started his latest visit to the continent, overnight and will attend the opening match of the soccer World Cup in Johannesburg tomorrow.
This is the Secretary-General’s second trip to Africa this month, and it will also take him to Benin and Sierra Leone.
Last week, he visited Malawi and Uganda, and later in June he will travel to Gabon, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a UN peacekeeping mission – known as MONUC – has been in operation for 11 years.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue