New York

03 May 2021

Deputy Secretary-General's video message to the Africa Dialogue Series

It is my pleasure to address you today to launch this year’s Africa Dialogue Series.

2021 is a year of hope and opportunity for Africa. Despite the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and an inadequate global response, the continent stood up to the challenge and is charting a path towards a recovery that can deliver the Agendas 2030 and 2063.

This has been possible thanks to a strong continental response led by the African Union, and the resolve of African countries to seize the opportunity presented by the crisis to trigger a paradigm shift.

African leaders at all levels are changing the narrative of Africa as a continent of conflicts, poverty and lost opportunities.  They are showing that Africa is a place of dynamism and innovation, richly deserving greater investment.

Examples abound.

Rwanda deployed nurse-robots to stop the spread of the COVID-19…

The E9 is using digital learning to drive change in education, with Egypt and Nigeria as key players.

The entry into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area, at a moment when borders were being closed due to the COVID-19, is another promising step.

The Great Green Wall across the Sahel, and South Africa’s Blue Economy initiative, offer further evidence of new approaches to economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The United Nations continues to call for greater support for these efforts, including promoting an energy transition and strong financial and technological support for climate change adaptation. Africa has contributed very little to the problem yet is among those most affected.
 
For these reasons and more, I invite you to take the opportunity presented by the Africa Dialogue Series to usher in a debate that leverages Africa’s rich culture, heritage, traditions and religions as key instruments to promote this change of narrative and to advance Africa’s transformation; as “levers for building the Africa we Want”.

I wish you all the best for fruitful discussions.

Thank you.