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A. Tibaijuka: Africa Is a Land of Great Potential

Address Prepared for the International Leadership Conference of the Universal Peace Federation
Nairobi, Kenya, August 30, 2008

Essay published in Dialogue & Alliance
, Spring/Summer 2010 issue

Good leadership and good governance are crucial if the world is to forge ahead in the development agenda and achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

In Kenya people have experienced unprecedented post-election violence and loss of life and property. However, we should also play our part and support the peace and reconciliation building process.

As you know, global peace and sustainable development are the main foundations of the creation of United Nations in 1945. The Preamble of the Charter of the United Nations starts with the line "We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime brought untold sorrow to mankind, and ...." Furthermore, Article one of Chapter one of the United Nations Charter states that the purpose of the United Nations is "to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to peace."

In the Millennium Assembly, the Heads of State and Government gathered at United Nations headquarters in New York in September 2000 at the dawn of the new millennium reaffirmed their faith in the organization and its Charter as indispensable foundations of a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world. They committed themselves to take collective responsibility to achieve Millennium Development Goals set by them by the year 2015.

However, it is a proven fact that government cannot solve all the problems and cannot provide all the services alone. All stakeholders, including faith-based organizations, nongovernmental organizations, civil society, communities, the private sector, and local partners, have to play their role and work together to achieve the goals of a better and peaceful world. UN HABITAT fully recognizes the positive role of faith-based organizations including the Universal Peace Federation in motivating people of the world for peace and sustainable development.

As our former Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan says most aptly: "Good leadership is vital if we are to overcome the challenges that face our world. Nowhere is this more essential than in Africa. Our continent has immense problems, but also extraordinary potential. Without honest and sound leadership, the danger is that this potential will remain unfulfilled."

Let me add: leadership starts with the young. My organization recognizes youth as leaders of today and tomorrow and has several initiatives including the young people as agents of peace in Kenya.