Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, 27 May 2010 - Secretary-General's message to 45th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank and 36th Meeting of the African Development Fund [Delivered by Mr. Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa]I send my warmest greetings to you all as we commemorate this special year marking the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Nigeria and so many African countries. In so doing, we applaud Africa's sustained progress in democratization, in promoting the rule of law and in establishing its own institutional architecture in peace and security. These have provided the essential foundation for the economic and social advancement of Africa's one billion citizens, more than half of whom are under the age of twenty five.
While Africa continues to face formidable development challenges, the continent has made remarkable economic and social progress in the last decade. Effective national policies, along with improved political and social stability, have underpinned these gains. The challenge going forward is to build on this foundation, and mobilize the financing, technology and capacity-building needed to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals. This is what many African countries are already doing, with significant support from the African Development Bank. The MDG Summit at UN Headquarters in September is an important opportunity to generate the necessary political and financial support to meet this critical challenge. Genuinely inclusive, sustained, job-rich economic growth will be crucial, as well as targeted investments in women and girls, accountable, transparent governance and overall peace and stability. Regional integration also has a crucial role to play.
Climate change also looms as a longer-term developmental challenge. Indeed, many African countries are expected to suffer disproportionate impacts even though the continent has contributed the least to concentrations of greenhouse gases. Adaptation needs are large, and should be fully integrated into overall development efforts. But Africa also needs more affordable energy for its development; large-scale financing and appropriate technology will be needed to ensure that this pressing need is met with viable options that are as consistent as possible with climate change mitigation.
The UN family looks forward to strengthening its collaboration with the African Development Bank, the African Union and other development partners. For my part, I will be making three trips to Africa in the month ahead to promote the MDGs and talk to African leaders about the way forward as they strive to consolidate peace and implement NEPAD. I am determined to do my utmost to enable the continent to achieve its full economic, political and social potential. Please accept my best wishes for a successful meeting.
Statements on 27 May 2010