Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s closing remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the launch of the African Influencers for Development (AID), in New York today:
It is my pleasure to deliver the closing remarks after your rich discussions on how to make inclusive development a reality for Africa and the role of key actors, such as all of you here today. I applaud UNDP [United Nations Development Programme] and partners here for launching the AID supergroup, the AID Africa Business Map and the Africa Renewable Energy Forum. Congratulations on this remarkable initiative, which creates a new platform to engage diverse actors who are already passionately involved in finding solutions in innovative ways.
We have heard that the challenges Africa faces are complex and multifaceted. Poverty, rising inequalities, competition for natural resources and climate change that has led to an increase in droughts, desertification and the frequency and intensity of cyclones. We know we must harness the capacities of young people and continue investing in building peaceful societies. We have heard of significant opportunities. We have a map that the world has agreed on – the Sustainable Development Goals – and that Africa has embraced, for example, in Agenda 2063.
Recently, the launch of the Free Continental Trade Area promises to boost intra-African trade and provide business opportunities that will enhance growth and industrialization on the continent. The Great Green Wall is an opportunity to improve livelihoods and restore peace in an area were conflict revolves around land and natural resources. We need partnerships to make the best out of these opportunities. As the African proverb goes, “coming together is the beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success”.
We need partnerships to galvanize Africa’s creative, intellectual and entrepreneurial energy. We need to bring together diverse disciplines and sectors to upscale Africa’s own innovative solutions. And we need partnerships that create equal opportunities for women and men, both young and old, from the continent and in the diaspora, all collaborating to change the narrative and accelerate Africa’s development.
People of influence in Africa are stepping forward to shape the bright future that we all want. Leaders, entrepreneurs and development actors all have a critical role to play in realizing the Goals of our common agenda for sustainable development. This is the moment to look forward and work together to deliver Africa’s development agenda and shape the future we want for Africa.
I thank you.