Thank you for this opportunity to open this year’s Africa-NEPAD [New Partnership for Africa's Development] week.
I offer my warmest congratulations on the tenth anniversary of the African Peer Review Mechanism.
The APRM has deepened a democratic political culture among African governments. It has fostered more principled leadership and constructive national dialogue. And the peer review process has opened up greater space for citizens to participate in the decisions affecting them.
I pay tribute to the 17 countries that have completed their self-assessment and peer review. This process strengthened national accountability.
In some cases, the APRM [African Peer Review Mechanism] has revealed underlying causes of conflict – with recommendations to address them.
The APRM has identified a number of areas where African countries need to improve.
It showed the need to better manage natural resources, stop corruption, end xenophobia, address youth unemployment and take action against organized crime and terrorism.
Above all, the APRM points to the critical need to halt unconstitutional changes in government – and, when they happen, to respond robustly in defence of principle.
Now is the time to deepen and broaden this valuable peer review process so that more countries can benefit. The goal, of course, is for all countries in Africa to face this scrutiny, by themselves and by others. This is what African people expect of their leaders.
The United Nations remains committed to supporting the APRM and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD.
What the APRM does for governance, NEPAD does for development. Together, they help Africa to advance along the path of democracy and development to benefit the continent’s people.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Africa’s prospects are strong. Several African countries are among the world’s fastest growing economies. Fewer Africans suffer from extreme poverty. More African children are in school – especially girls. African countries are trading among themselves as never before. More African women are finding work beyond the fields – including in parliaments and statehouses. Regional integration and the African Renaissance are a reality. I thank the African Union and the NEPAD Agency for leading this effort.
Peace, human rights and development are inextricably linked. That is why I travelled earlier this year to the Great Lakes region with World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim. We went together to support the Framework for Peace, Security and Cooperation for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.
We are also moving forward with our cooperation on the Sahel. We have mobilized a billion dollars for the region and we are developing an integrated strategy to address humanitarian, development and security problems.
In Mali, the AU [African Union] and ECOWAS [Economic Community Of West African States] are helping the United Nations mission consolidate gains following the elections.
Relations between Sudan and South Sudan have improved thanks to the contributions of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel led by President [Thabo] Mbeki. The United Nations and the African Union are also cooperating constructively on Somalia. We are continuing to seek sustainable resources for the AMISOM mission [African Union Mission in Somalia].
I am deeply concerned about the situation in the Central African Republic. It is essential to restore law and order throughout the country, protect civilians and ensure a return to constitutional order.
International solidarity remains essential to addressing all of Africa’s challenges.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Ten years ago, the APRM was a bold initiative that showed the world that African leaders were ready to take action on difficult and sensitive problems of governance and democracy.
Ten years on, this approach has proven its value.
On this anniversary, I call on all partners in the international community to fully support both NEPAD and the APRM.
Let us resolve to usher in a future where all of Africa’s leaders answer to their people in democratic governments that are a model for our world.