Honourable Dr. Kenneth Baugh,
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of
High-level Meeting on Africa’s Development Needs,
United Nations Headquarters,
22 September 2008
Jamaica aligns itself with the Statement delivered by Ambassador Ashe of
Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. It is an honour
for my country to participate in this High-level event dedicated to Africa’s
development needs, which we hope will serve to renew our collective focus and
political will to effectively address the plight of the Continent.
Jamaica shares a special relationship with the continent of Africa given our
strong historical ties and the strong bonds of friendship shared with the
African people. We therefore have a genuine interest in the progress and
welfare of our sisters and brothers on the continent.
this context, we view the initiative of the AU/Diaspora Summit, aimed at
fostering a closer alliance with the African Diaspora worldwide, of which
Jamaica is a part, as a significant step towards responding to the needs of
the Continent. This mechanism would positively complement other activities
taking place in the UN and elsewhere.
thank the Secretary-General for his very comprehensive report on Africa’s
development needs which forms the basis for our discussions today. As noted in
the report, Africa faces peculiar challenges including alarming rates of
poverty, persistence of violent conflicts, loss of human capital and enormous
resource outflows, all of which have been exacerbated by other compelling
global developments including inter alia the food crisis, soaring energy
prices and climate change as well as the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS and
other communicable diseases,.
Needless to say, this is already having a significant bearing on the ability
of African countries to achieve the internationally agreed development goals
including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As we are poised to enter
the second phase of the race to the 2015 goalpost to the achievement of the
MDGs, it is quite unfortunate to note that while some countries are on target
to achieve some of the goals, NO country on the continent is on track to
achieve all the goals.
Jamaica commends the Governments and Peoples of Africa for their individual
and collective efforts to advance their own development. Within the framework
of NEPAD which is centred on the principle of national ownership, many African
countries have taken several bold and positive steps to foster economic growth
and enhance stability in their quest for sustainable development.
Notwithstanding their sterling efforts, Mr. Chairman, the scale and magnitude
of the challenges confronting Africa, far outweigh their capacity to
effectively address them.
Countries emerging from conflict require special attention and assistance
given the enormous challenges which they face in the areas of peace, stability
and socio-economic development.
acknowledge the efforts of the international community to support the
development agenda in Africa. It is acknowledged that the UN and the AU have
forged a productive partnership over the years, strengthened with the launch of
the MDG Africa Steering Group exactly one year ago. The Secretary-General must
be commended for this bold initiative. It is our sincere hope that the
recommendations/action plan of the Steering Group will be fully implemented, and
that the Steering Group will assist in streamlining and coordinating the
activities of the United Nations in Africa. Member States could benefit from a
report in the future on the work of the Steering Group.
also acknowledging the efforts of other development partners in supporting
Africa’s development, we continue to lament the persistent implementation
deficit as it relates to the myriad commitments made to Africa.
heartened by the fact that a number of commitments relating to external debt
relief have been honoured and encourage these developments, while reaffirming
that debt relief should not detract from conventional official development
however concerned that very limited progress has been attained in other areas
of financing for development including the promised increase in ODA. It is
clear from the Secretary-General’s report that without a massive increase in
the current resources being allocated to Africa, it is difficult to envisage
the continent fully extricating itself from the deepening quagmire of poverty.
High-level event is not a chance encounter. It is an opportune time to
undertake stocktaking as we chart a way forward. I can assure you, we already
have an abundance of commitments and promises. The missing elements are the
resources and concrete actions to truly advance the process. The time for
rhetoric is over. Let us use these commitments as a springboard to a brighter
future for the People of Africa.
you Mr. Chairman.