CARICOM heartened by Africa's notable strides: Bahamas

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The Permanent Representative of The Bahamas, Ambassador Paulette Bethel

NARRATOR: The golden thread that joins the Caribbean to Africa is one woven by ties of culture and history, shared struggles and common aspirations.

So says the Permanent Representative of The Bahamas Ambassador Paulette Bethel. She told the General Assembly's meeting o the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), that the Caribbean Community reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening collaboration with Africa towards achievement of the enhanced levels of development envisioned by both regions. She added that it is in pursuit of this goal that CARICOM's membership has at a policy level embarked on practical engagement with the African region.

TAPE: CARICOM delegations have paid special attention to the contents of the Secretary General’s report which describes the current status of the effort to implement NEPAD, and to incorporate its priorities into the regional development effort. Our states view with encouragement the story of promise and of hope that seems to emerge from the pages of this document. We see a new dynamic at work which has effectively replaced the traditional stereotypical image of Africa as a continent of poverty and despair. CARICOM is proud to see the level of dedication and commitment of African countries in the implementation of their development agenda through economic reform, enhancement of governance and tackling of conflicts. Our Community acknowledges and is heartened by Africa’s notable strides in the achievement of political stability, promotion of economic and social development and strengthening mechanisms for inclusive participation.

NARRATOR: But Ambassador Bethel warned that Africa’s story is not one of unqualified optimism. She pointed out that the achievement of sustainable development and durable peace remains a challenge for the states of the region, many of which, in spite of the significant efforts to attain the millennium development goals, are likely to fall short by the 2015 deadline.

TAPE: There is need for more concerted action for support of the continent in its effort to cope with the manifest challenges which persist. Greater attention is required to critical areas such as poverty eradication, food security, health care, education, governance, infrastructure, information and communication technology, and providing the economic, social and physical security which impact the most vulnerable and highly dependent groups. We recognize further the need to support the framework for peace building and

conflict prevention and resolution in Africa in order to create the enabling environment

required for sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and strengthening

democracy. We believe that there must be continued efforts to buttress the African states in their resolve to build the capacity of the most vulnerable groups with a view to enhancing human capital, reducing vulnerability, promoting equity and positively dealing with issues that engender conflict and stymie development.

NARRATOR: Ambassador Bethel noted that the persistent global financial and economic crisis has impacted on the level of international cooperation and the provision of aid to developing states such as those in Africa. And she called on the international community and financial institutions to stay the course and help strengthen the platform of engagement between Africa and her development partners. This is Don Bobb reporting.

Filed under Caribbean News.
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