C. Development of Africa
Africa remained a key area of focus for the United Nations during the past year. While Africa continues to experience solid overall economic growth and the absolute number of people living in extreme poverty seems to be declining, inequalities persist. Unemployment remains high and armed conflicts undermine development prospects in key regions.
The Organization worked closely with the African Union and its New Partnership for Africa’s Development programme, and the Millennium Development Goals Africa Steering Group, to advance the African development agenda. It partnered with interested Governments to implement projects that boost financing for development in areas such as sustainable forest management and to promote and strengthen the engagement of citizens in governance and public administration.
A large number of countries with special needs, including least developed and landlocked developing countries, are located on the African continent. More than half of the population in least developed countries lives below the poverty line. Landlocked developing countries continue to be marginalized in international trade and face serous constraints to their overall growth due mainly to their lack of access to the sea and remoteness from major markets, inadequate transit facilities, cumbersome Customs and border-crossing procedures and inadequate transport infrastructure. Least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing States further face difficulties related to climate change, desertification and loss of biodiversity. In the past year, the Organization worked towards addressing the special needs of these countries, including taking steps to implement the Istanbul Programme of Action, the Almaty Programme of Action, and the Mauritius Strategy.