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Ban Ki-moon: Remarks at the Africa Day 2014 Celebration in New York


New York, May 23, 2014

Happy Africa Day, everyone!

This continent has much to celebrate.

Africa has experienced several years of strong growth and development. There have been advances in getting children in school, protecting health and improving living conditions in many countries.

Looking ahead, “Agenda Two Thousand and Sixty Three” is a far-reaching and pragmatic vision.

My message to you on Africa Day is inspired by that vision.

Transformation, growth, dynamism, progress and partnership – this is the African Union’s new narrative.

This year’s Africa Day focuses on agriculture and food security. It is very encouraging to see more countries investing in agriculture. At the same time, we should all be concerned about the underperformance of the sector – and especially about the very real prospect of famine in South Sudan.

Our challenge is to unleash the continent’s potential for agricultural development. Africa has the potential to help feed the world.

In this area and across the international agenda, the United Nations will continue to work closely with the African Union.

Together, we are accelerating our push to reach the Millennium Development Goals. We agree that Africa’s priorities need to be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.

Africa is among the regions that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. I call on Africa’s leaders to participate in the Climate Summit I will convene in September to galvanize action toward a meaningful new climate agreement. I expect African countries to show continued leadership on climate change that is commensurate with their growing economic power.

Africa’s future lies with its dynamic young people. Let us pledge on Africa Day to empower African youth. In that spirit, let us express our solidarity with the families of the kidnapped schoolgirls in Borno State, Nigeria. We will do everything possible for their safe return.

During my many visits to Africa, including recently to Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Rwanda and South Sudan, I have emphasized the value of peace and stability in advancing development.

The partnership between the United Nations and the African Union has made a difference in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali and Somalia. We are committed to the AU Peace and Security Architecture.

Our integrated strategies for the Sahel and Great Lakes regions span development, peace and security, human rights and the rule of law.

To achieve and sustain peace demands a strong investment – in resources, political will, flexibility, tolerance and the empowerment of people.

On this Africa Day, you have my pledge to continue standing with the people and leaders of Africa as they advance on the path to a more peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future.

For details about the Africa Day 2014 celebration in New York, click here.