Africa has witnessed major development gains: CARICOMListen /
NARRATOR: The founding of the OAU preceded by a decade the establishment of our own Caribbean Community in 1973, the representative of Guyana Ambassador George Talbot told the UN General Assembly.
Speaking on behalf of CARICOM during discussion on the New Partnership for Africa's development, Ambassador Talbot said that not long after that, the 1975 Georgetown Agreement tied the two regions along with the countries of the Pacific in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group (ACP), a cross-continental alliance, committed to South- South cooperation, and to partnership with Europe in the cause of development.
“Our two regions, the Caribbean and Africa, have been animated by a common aspiration: to chart a course of our own design informed by the wisdom of our respective experience, while learning from each other and from the experience of others. It is no surprise therefore that CARICOM has welcomed and continues to support the African-led and African owned approach to growth and socioeconomic development that the New Partnership represents. By it Africans are enabled to chart their own course to higher standards of life in larger freedom; to surmount the ravages of conflict and poverty; and to fulfil the rich promise of their potential. The progress which has been made thus far illustrates NEPAD’s effectiveness as a developmental model for Africa.”
NARRATOR: Ambassador Talbot noted that Africa has witnessed major development gains even as it continued to grapple with significant challenges to peace and development.
“Seven of the 10 fastest growing economies globally are based on the Continent and Africa as a whole is today the world's second fastest growing region. Moreover, a growing middle class, now currently 34 per cent of the population, is projected to reach one billion people by 2060. The World Bank’s Africa Overview 2013 notes that the region’s poverty rate fell from 58.1% in 1999 to 47.5% in 2008. Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to rise from 5.3 % in 2012 to 5.6% in 2013. Various assessments indicate that Africa is on track for the achievement of some of the MDGs by 2015, notably MDG 2, universal primary education; MDG 3, in respect of gender parity in school enrolment; and MDG 6, reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence.”
NARRATOR: Ambassador Talbot said despite these achievements, major challenges remain. He said Africa’s rate of poverty reduction is insufficient to reach the target of halving extreme poverty by 2015. The Continent therefore continues to face the greatest risk in the entire developing world of falling short in achieving the MDGs.
Donn Bobb, United Nations.