Africa needs more support on its path to growth, speakers said today, as the 193-member General Assembly examined efforts by the United Nations to help Africa fight malaria while pursuing durable peace and sustainable development.
Before the Assembly was the report of the Director General of the World Health Organization, titled “Consolidating gains and accelerating efforts to control and eliminate malaria in developing countries, particularly in Africa, by 2030” (document A/75/854). Also before it was the Secretary-General’s report “Promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa” (document A/75/917). Issuance of “The biennial report on the review of the implementation of commitments made towards Africa’s development” (document A/75/950) has been postponed to August.
Guinea’s representative, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, emphasized that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Africa’s ability to combat malaria creates an additional challenge as the continent strives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations system must do more to help upgrade health care in Africa, he urged, also requesting that developed countries meet their commitments to devote 0.7 per cent of their respective gross domestic products (GDP) to official development assistance (ODA).
Gambia’s delegate, speaking for the African Group, said Africa has managed to deliver strong responses to the pandemic, but its efforts will be “fruitless” unless the issue of inequitable vaccine distribution is addressed. He went on to call for strengthening Africa’s capacity to produce vaccines locally, putting human capital at the centre of policymaking in Africa as well as greater access to development financing.
South Africa’s representative said the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), is making impressive progress, but needs the maximum level of support to achieve its important goals. Echoing the call by the Group of 77 for the international community to meet its development commitments, he also emphasized the need to curb illicit financial flows that rob Africa of money that could otherwise fund development.
Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, India and China.
The Assembly will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 29 July, to discuss the report of the Peacebuilding Commission and take action on several draft resolutions.
LANG YABOU (Gambia), speaking on behalf of the African Group, noted that considerable progress has been made on new partnerships in the area of infrastructure development, with a 40 per cent increase seen in investment. Turning to the coronavirus pandemic, he said that despite constraints, Africa has managed to deliver strong responses, establishing an African Union task force to coordinate efforts. But those efforts will be fruitless unless the issue of inequitable vaccine distribution is addressed, he emphasized, calling for strengthened African capacity to produce vaccines locally. Stressing the need to put human capital at the centre of policymaking, he urged global efforts to give African States greater access to financing. He added that official development assistance (ODA), in addition to helping to strengthen governance and institutions, can also be leveraged to mobilize domestic resources. He went on to underline the particularly severe effects of the pandemic on women and girls in relation to delivery of public services.
BOUBACAR DIALLO (Guinea), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, emphasized the pandemic’s impact on Africa’s ability to combat malaria, saying it creates an additional challenge as the continent strives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations system must do more to help upgrade health care in Africa, he said. Emphasizing the urgent need to make better use of existing tools to treat and prevent malaria, he said better surveillance of and data on the disease are also required. Ensuring sustainable success will depend on a holistic and multi-sectorial approach that builds on synergies with other development priorities, he added. At this critical juncture, Africa needs more support on its development path, he stressed, calling upon those States that have not done so to meet their commitments to devote 0.7 per cent target of their gross domestic product (GDP) to ODA. He went on to call upon all partners to promote vaccine production in Africa and to support efforts to address the continent’s peace and security challenges.
THOMAS PATRICK PHIPPS (United Kingdom) noted that some African countries are nearing the elimination of malaria but others are falling behind. Emphasizing that his country is a major donor in the global fight against malaria, he said each situation is unique for each endemic country and every penny counts. Calling for use of the “right tool in the right place at the right time”, he welcomed the revised Global Technical Strategy of the World Health Organization (WHO).
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India), associating himself with the Group of 77, said his country has emerged as a close friend and strategic partner of Africa. He recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi enunciated the 10 guiding principles of that engagement, stressing that Africa is at the top of New Delhi’s priorities. Noting that India recently opened missions in 18 more African countries, he said they are more than digital pathways and brick-and-mortar projects. India’s association with Africa is about the human touch — about facilitating the capacities of its people, particularly the youth, he said, adding that today his country is one of the region’s largest trade, investment and development partners. India offers a market for African commodities and products as well as duty-free access to products from Africa’s least developed countries. The underlying philosophy of India’s partnership with Africa entails helping to empower a future for the continent founded on the principles of inclusiveness, sustainability, peace and prosperity, dignity and respect for one and all, he emphasized.
XOLISA MFUNDISO MABHONGO (South Africa), associating himself with the Group of 77, echoed calls for global solidarity to ensure affordable and equitable access to vaccines, including their production in Africa. He also urged other countries to join South Africa and India as they lobby at the World Trade Organization for the waiving of intellectual property rights protections for COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines are currently being manufactured in only a few places, but the pandemic will not subside before it is eliminated in all countries, he emphasized. Turning to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), he said it is making impressive progress, but needs the maximum level of support to achieve its important goals. He echoed the Group of 77’s call for the international community to meet its development commitments, including by fulfilling its ODA targets, extending and deepening debt-relief measures, and fostering conditions in which to expand foreign direct investment. He went on to stress the need to curb illicit financial flows that rob Africa of money that could otherwise be spent on development.
DAI BING (China), associating himself with the Group of 77, said the international community must extend more support to Africa and help it achieve the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063. It should help Africa fight the pandemic by ensuring the availability of affordable vaccines, he added, emphasizing that the international community should support the continent’s independent development and respect national development paths. Developed countries should also fulfil their obligations regarding ODA, debt relief and the transfer of technology. Stressing that priority in matters of peace and security should be to help African countries solve African problems in African ways, he said external interference must be opposed. He went on to point out that the Government of China has delivered multiple batches of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 30 African countries. It also cancelled loans to 15 countries that were due at the end of 2020 and began construction on the headquarters of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, ahead of schedule, he noted.