On Africa Day, the world celebrates the diverse and dynamic continent’s “enormous promise and potential”, the UN chief said in an upbeat message to mark the day on Wednesday.
“Africa is a home for hope,” said Secretary-General António Guterres, citing the continent’s “growing and vibrant youth population”.
And with initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Decade of Women’s Financial and Economic Inclusion, and the African Union’s (AU) bold Agenda 2063 set of game-changing proposals, the “prospects on the horizon are bright”, he declared.
Obstacles to success
However, the top UN official reminded that there are “multiple challenges preventing Africa from reaching its full potential”.
He pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impact on African economies along with climate change, unresolved conflicts, and a severe food crisis.
And the war in Ukraine is exacerbating challenges, “creating a perfect storm for developing countries, especially in Africa”.
“This crisis is resulting in soaring costs for food, energy and fertilizer with devastating consequences on nutrition and food systems, while making it even more difficult for the continent to mobilize the financial resources needed to invest in its people,” the Secretary-General detailed.
Day to remember
Africa Day marks the 1963 founding of the Organization of African Unity, now known as the AU, and provides an annual opportunity to reflect on the challenges and achievements of the continent.
Among African nations, UN entities have long played key roles in promulgating the fundamental values of the Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
From peace and security to social and economic development and regional integration, the United Nations has proven itself an indispensable partner.
Standing in solidarity
With 2022 designated the Year of Nutrition by the AU, the Secretary-General urged the world to “join together in solidarity with all Africans to strengthen food security and put nutrition within reach of every person”.
“We must also intensify our efforts to end the pandemic, reform the global financial system, stop climate change and silence the guns across all conflicts,” he added.
The UN chief concluded by pledging the Organization’s continued support in “standing proudly with Africans as we work to deliver on the promise of a prosperous and peaceful Africa”.