We mark Africa Day at a time when cooperation and solidarity to advance the continent’s future is more needed than ever.
Africa’s dynamism is unstoppable; its potential is breathtaking, from the vibrancy of its huge number of young people to the possibilities of free trade. The African Union has designated 2023 the year of the African Continental Free Trade Area. When fully established, the world’s largest single market could lift 50 million people out of extreme poverty by 2035, driving progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063.
I look forward to African governments continuing to seize the opportunities presented by the continent’s natural, human, and entrepreneurial richness, by working to increase private investment and raise resources at home.
And I urge the international community to stand with Africa. Currently, historic and economic injustices hamper its progress. Multiple crises – from COVID to climate and conflict – continue to cause great suffering across the continent. African countries are underrepresented in global governance institutions, from the Security Council to the Bretton Woods System, and denied the debt relief and concessional funding they need.
Africa deserves peace, justice and international solidarity.
The continent should be represented at the highest level of the international financial system. Multilateral Development Banks should transform their business models and leverage funds to attract massive private finance at reasonable cost to developing countries. Developed countries should provide the support they have promised for action on climate change, and go further. And we must support efforts to silence the guns across the continent.
The United Nations will continue to be a proud partner in advancing peace, sustainable development and human rights for the people of Africa.
With international cooperation and solidarity, this can be Africa’s century.
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