La place prépondérante que la France donne au Sommet Afrique-France témoigne de l'intérêt qu'elle porte aux problèmes de développement du continent africain. Depuis sa création, ce Sommet est l'occasion pour les deux parties de renforcer leurs relations privilégiées et d'entretenir le dialogue sur les politiques communes à mettre en place.
To end the vicious cycle of underdevelopment, and give hope to the continent's people, Africa needs, more than ever, the support of the international community to consolidate and accelerate the progress in the socio-economic domains. Despite the unacceptable level of poverty, and the instability in certain regions of the continent, there has been some growth even after a period of economic stagnation. Perhaps most important, there are more and more democratically elected governments and fewer armed conflicts.
Since 2002, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) has been playing the key role. NEPAD shows the determination of Africans to take control of their own destiny and to carry out reforms at the regional, national and local levels. These reforms should allow Africa, which is rich in natural and human resources, to fully participate in the global economy. It is only by creating a conducive environment that African countries can achieve economic growth and a quality of life similar to that of other developing countries.
Yet much hard work lies ahead. African countries need to collaborate with each other and continue along the path of major reform. Developed countries also need to undertake far-reaching initiatives, in particular more debt relief, an increase in official development assistance, and greater market access to African products.
The year 2005 could very well be a crucial year for Africa. In September, worldwide leaders will assemble at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to assess progress made since the adoption of the Millennium Declaration. This should be the time for taking decisions, including bold measures to respond to the particular needs of the African continent. The report I presented to the Member States of the United Nations –“In larger freedom” –comprises a number of recommendations to support Africans in their search for greater security, increase development and respect for human rights. The General Assembly's debate on financing development, scheduled for the end of this month, the G8 Summit in July, and the September Summit are decisive opportunities to generate greater support from the international community for Africa's development.
Pour ma part, je peux vous dire que l'appui du système des Nations Unies vous est acquis. Si nous travaillons ensemble, nous pouvons créer un avenir de paix et de prospérité pour tous les Africains.