|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
United Nations, World Bank Committed to Helping Africa Reach Its Goals,
Secretary-General Tells Session of Development Conference
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks as prepared for delivery to the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) session “Private Sector, Trade and Investment as Engines of Development”, in Yokohama, Japan, on 2 June:
Thank you very much, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank, for chairing this important session on the private sector, trade and investment.
We meet at a time of great potential for Africa. There has been impressive growth and significant progress in reaching the Millennium Development Goals. Now we have to reach the many African women and men who still struggle with poverty, unemployment and instability.
We can address these challenges by doing more to tap the transformational power of the private sector, trade and investment. Businesses, large and small, can help promote access to food, energy and essential services, and provide decent jobs.
The African continent as a whole is still marginalized in the global economy. Exports from sub-Saharan Africa make up just 3 per cent of world trade. Africa’s share in global foreign direct investment flows is just 3.5 per cent. Most of the continent’s trade and investment are still focused on a limited number of commodities exported to a limited number of destinations.
Better integrating Africa into the global economy on more favourable terms can help diversify the continent’s economies and make them more resilient. Responsible foreign investment holds more potential for Africa than any other source of development capital, including official development assistance. When transnational companies invest in Africa responsibly, they open access to value chains, state-of-the-art technology, innovation, and support job creation.
To open the way for progress, African countries must adopt proactive policies, and their partners must help forge an enabling international environment. All must work to end corruption. Trade can also mobilize results. It is important to complete the Doha Trade Round and ensure that African companies have access to major markets. It is also critical to address non-tariff barriers.
Africa should pursue opportunities for trade beyond traditional markets. Emerging economies are boosting African trade in primary goods. Now is the time to expand these links and continue the move to value-added manufactured products. Intra-African trade is lower than that of any other continent. I applaud efforts by the African Union to boost trade among its members.
We also need to address the crippling lack of infrastructure. Energy, transportation and communications systems are essential to functioning businesses. Africa has enormous potential to develop its energy resources. My Sustainable Energy for All initiative can help spur progress. Investors and entrepreneurs in Africa and beyond can help realize Africa’s enormous potential for green growth.
We should also bring new agricultural technologies to Africa that can increase productivity while protecting the environment. I urge companies to observe the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment, developed by the United Nations and the World Bank.
Investors can also support the growth of small-scale local businesses.
In all cases, investors should respect human rights and property rights. More responsible and transparent investment is also needed in the extractive industries. There is a long and grim history of African countries being denied fair compensation for their rich natural resources. The Africa Progress Panel on opaque mining contracts recently found that this continues to be an issue.
The United Nations and the World Bank are committed to helping Africa reach its goals. When I travelled last week to Africa with Dr. Kim — the first joint visit anywhere by a United Nations Secretary-General and the President of the World Bank — we brought the message that sustainable economic growth provides the foundation for peace and stability.
Let us work together to reach these goals.
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