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R. Ngeno: Address to World Summit 2020

Address to World Summit 2020, Seoul, Korea, February 3-8, 2020


It is an honor and privilege to represent the African Union Commission at this very important World Summit 2020 whose theme, “Realizing World Peace and Reunification of the Korean Peninsula Through Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values,” highlights the collaborative approach necessary to discuss and find ways to solve the current international concerns in order to meet the developmental needs of the peoples of the world. 

The preamble to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development states: "We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind." It thus calls for international relations featuring win-win cooperation and to build a shared future for humanity.

There is an undeniable nexus between attaining sustainable development and peace. Peace allows us to create linkages that support production of goods and services through investment and trade. 

There have been policies developed globally that have promoted the focus of the theme of the conference. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly in April 2016 recognizes that “security, development and human rights are closely interlinked and mutually reinforcing.” And that “a comprehensive approach to sustaining peace, particularly through the prevention of conflict and addressing its root causes, strengthening the rule of law at the international and national levels, and promoting sustained and sustainable economic growth, poverty eradication, social development, sustainable development, national reconciliation and unity” is necessary.

Aspiration 4 of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 focusing on “a peaceful and secure Africa,” seeks to galvanize and unite in action all Africans and the diaspora around the common vision of a peaceful, integrated and prosperous Africa—and to harness the continental endowments embodied in its people, history, cultures, natural resources and geo-political position to effect equitable and people-centered growth and development. And this to be achieved through, among other ways, the promotion of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, building an open continental economy.

A society that can support businesses is a society able to provide basic social services and livelihood opportunities, resulting in peace as well as sustainable development.

History has also shown us that “nations cannot prosper in isolation.” As a continent, Africa has leaped towards continental integration for economic and social development. The recently adopted African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), part of Agenda 2063, envisages the transformation, growth and industrialization of our economies.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

The overall objective of the AfCFTA is to create a single market for goods and services, facilitated by the movement of persons, to deepen economic integration of the African continent. The AfCFTA is set to not only create a free trade area but create a network of cross border commercial interactions, enhancing the Productivity Agenda for Africa as an essential engine for industrialization, progressively enhancing the competitiveness of the continent in the global economy.

Success will require that we invite the world to work with us, to invest in our economies and to trade with us in a sustainable manner, thus breaking down borders and embracing the values of mutual interdependence, while protecting our uniqueness that makes us diverse and yet one in pursuit of preserving peace and coexistence.

As a continent, we are working at creating an attractive investment climate underpinned by a stable macroeconomic environment, a solid legal and regulatory framework, a strong institutional framework as well as clearly identified investment opportunities critical in achieving economic growth and development, which is essential for peace.

To conclude, regionally and globally, there is a force driving us to seek a collective action and approaches that will enhance societal development. It is hoped that this meeting will come out with decisive and implementable resolutions on how to enhance human development amid our wonderful diversity.

I thank you for your kind attention.



To go to the World Summit 2020 Schedule page, click here.