UN chief urges leveraging economic gains to ensure “no African is left behind”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that Africa’s economic prospects are good and urged Africa’s leaders to use these gains to address rising social and economic inequalities.

In his message to mark the Africa Day, Ban expressed optimism about Africa’s economic prospects, given that “growth is projected to increase to 4.4 percent in 2016, from 3.7 percent in 2015.”

“I urge Africa’s leaders to use these gains to address rising social and economic inequalities, and ensure that no African is left behind,” he said.

The UN chief also welcomed commitment of Africa’s leaders to place women — as key drivers and enablers — at the front and centre of all efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Both frameworks share similar strategic principles, with a focus on people, prosperity, environmental sustainability, justice, human rights and mutually accountable partnerships, he added.

Under Agenda 2063, Africa’s priorities include investing in its people, with an emphasis on women and youth, developing manufacturing and agro-processing and building transport, water, sanitation, energy and ICT infrastructure, among others.

The UN chief also said that Africa has the opportunity to pursue industrialization in a more environmentally sustainable manner, including through climate-smart agriculture, renewable energy and arresting deforestation.

Ban urged all stakeholders to rally behind the transformative vision set out in the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063, as “what is good for Africa is good for the world.”

Africa Day 2016, with the theme “Building a Better Africa and a Better World,” marks 53 years since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity on May 25, 1963. (Xinhua)