Sierra Leone’s Deputy Foreign Minister addresses UN General Assembly debate on NEPAD

 

Sierra Leone attaches great importance to NEPAD, as it is a collective vision and strategic socioeconomic development framework aimed at generating broad-based, sustained and equitable economic growth that allows Africa to reduce poverty and better integrate into the global economy. It is in this context that the 14th African Union Assembly integrated NEPAD into the structures and processes of the African Union. This decision added further impetus to the role of NEPAD as the continent’s flagship development programme. READ THE FULL STATEMENT BELOW :

PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF

SIERRA LEONE TO THE UNITED NATIONS

 245 East 49th Street, New York NY 10017

 

STATEMENT

 

by

 

HON. MRS. EBUN JUSU

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation

 

at the

 

67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Joint Debate on

 

New Partnership for Africa’s Development: Progress in Implementation and International Support [63 (a) and (b)]: reports of the Secretary-General (A/67/204 and A/67/205-S/2012/715); 2001 – 2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa [13]

                

New York, 17th October 2012

 

THE MINISTER AT THE ROSTRUM OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

                                                       Mr. President,

 

At the outset, let me compliment the Secretary-General for his instructive and forward-looking reports on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD): progress in implementation and international support, Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa, and Causes of conflict and the promotion of durable peace and sustainable development in Africa.

 

My delegation also express its appreciation to Mr. Maged Abdelaziz, Under Secretary-General and Special Adviser on Africa, and his dedicated team for their advisory and advocacy work in promoting Africa’s development agenda.

 

Let me also thank Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Planning and Coordinating Agency for his leadership drive and innovative approach in ensuring progress in the implementation of the  key priorities of NEPAD.

 

Mr. President,

 

Sierra Leone attaches great importance to NEPAD, as it is a collective vision and strategic socioeconomic development framework aimed at generating broad-based, sustained and equitable economic growth that allows Africa to reduce poverty and better integrate into the global economy. It is in this context that the 14thAfrican Union Assembly integrated NEPAD into the structures and processes of the African Union. This decision added further impetus to the role of NEPAD as the continent’s flagship development programme.

 

To that end, African countries, with the support of the international community, have continued to take policy actions to implement the NEPAD sectoral priorities and enhance their prospects of attaining the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, we take note of the report’s positive indication that, despite the global economic slowdown and the lingering impact of the global financial and economic crisis, progress has been achieved in the implementation of NEPAD. We therefore commend the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency for its continued efforts in generating fresh momentum and new dynamism in the implementation of the NEPAD priority activities.

 

With accelerated growth over the last decade, improvement in governance, the specter of conflict receding and improvement in leadership, it is clear that Africa is at a critical turning point. Steady progress is also recorded in malaria control and prevention mechanisms with many households sleeping under treated mosquito bed nets. As a further commitment, some African Heads of States, including the President of Sierra Leone, committed to reaching the United Nations Secretary-General’s goal of ensuring universal access to malaria control interventions launched the African Leaders Malaria Alliance (ALMA)  with the goal of ending preventable malaria deaths by 2015.

 

We however note that progress made so far continue to have less impact in the face of the deepening effect of an unprecedented economic and financial crisis, and effects of climate change – a crisis that undoubtedly has a much graver impact on the developing world, in particular, the least developed countries’ most of which are in Africa.

 

 

DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTER MRS. EBUN JUSU , MINISTER PLENIPOTENTIARY KABS KANU AND DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE (LEGAL AFFAIRS ) AMBASSADOR OSMAN KEH KAMARA REPRESENTING SIERRA LEONE AT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY TODAY

 

Mr. President,

 

The integration of NEPAD into the African Union provides a window for strategic partnership to explore areas of cooperation to address such global challenges as the debt issue, climate change, trade and regional integration and sustainable development.

 

We are heartened by the ongoing implementation of NEPAD projects ranging from the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, infrastructure, environment, gender mainstreaming, education, to training in information and communication technologies.

 

At the level of governance, advances in the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) demonstrate the continent’s resolve and commitment in promoting democracy, good governance, peace and stability in the continent. We are also encouraged by the increase in the number of countries that have joined the African Peer Review Mechanism and in that regard, commend the consolidation of this Mechanism as the African Union flagship programme on governance.

 

In order to build on these gains and further enhance our development strides, we should continue to increase domestic savings and lessen dependence on foreign aid. We should further continue to invest in science, technology and innovation to take full advantage of progress, including increasing value addition in natural resources, job creation, increase investment in infrastructure, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In this regard, Foreign Direct Investment, aimed at creating public private partnerships and a vibrant private sector remains a viable option in addressing unemployment and under employment as well as promoting socio-economic development.

 

My delegation further calls upon the NEPAD Agency to focus on improving Africa’s global standing and on improving the linkages with the continent’s regional economic communities.

 

Mr. President,

 

There is an increasing awareness that the responsibility for peace and security in Africa, including the capacity to address the root causes of conflict and to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner, lies primarily with African countries themselves. The African Union and the sub regional organizations have undertaken to strengthen their capacity in conflict prevention and resolution.

 

While these efforts are on-going, we are also witnessing a new wave of challenges including trans-national organized crime, proliferation of small arms and light weapons, terrorism, piracy, issues of governance, human rights and threat to democracy, drought, famine, and corruption. Furthermore, while the reduction of extreme poverty and hunger remains the main development challenge, most African countries are also grappling with the problem of youth unemployment, climate change, and inadequate productive capacity.  These challenges continue to frustrate efforts by African countries to achieve the MDGs.

 

Thus, the need to forge coordinated partnerships to strengthen capacities to respond to crises and security threats associated with the above challenges, particularly in conflict and post-conflict countries, remain vital in ensuring durable peace. There is a clear need to step up efforts to improve the early warning system of impending threats to peace and stability in Africa.

 

In this context, my delegation commends the 2010 comprehensive review of the implementation of the 1998 Recommendations of the Secretary General on the Causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa, in the light of new and emerging issues affecting human security in Africa. In that regard, my delegation notes the policy proposals and recommendations in the Secretary General’s present report A/67/205 – S/2012/715.

 

Mr. President,

 

Africa’s share of the global agriculture market continues to be extremely low with recorded decrease in recent years. We therefore urge development partners to take bold steps to successfully conclude trade negotiations with development dimensions, which would reduce trade-distorting subsidies for agriculture products, increase access to markets by African farmers and phase out barriers to trade at the national and global levels.

 

In keeping with internationally agreed development outcome documents including the MDGs, the Rio+20 on sustainable development, the Istanbul Programme of Action, we further urge development partners to meet their commitments and to deliver on the pledges made at the Busan Partnership for Aid Effectiveness to achieve the ODA target of 0.7% and 0.15% for the developing and least developing countries respectively.

 

Mr. President,

 

Sierra Leone has, since 2002, emerged from a decade long civil conflict to a country that is being cited as a success story of UN Peacebuilding and peace consolidation efforts. Despite the main challenges that we continue to face, Sierra Leone is cited as a good example of how a country can move from conflict to a stable and peaceful democracy. Today, with support from our development partners, we have introduced policies to accelerate our interventions in the productive sectors and expand on our infrastructure, protect the environment and improve social safety nets.

 

In order to situate our development in a focused, coherent and prioritized framework, we developed the Agenda for Change in 2008; a five year development framework, which is our Second generation Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper with which the PBC, the UN country team and other development partners have realigned their strategies. This development and peace building framework sets clear priorities targeting drivers of growth and necessary conditions for sustainable development in key areas such as energy, agriculture, transport, health, youth unemployment, gender and education. The strategies for delivering these priorities include among other things, improving the capacity of the public service, enhancing public and private sector partnerships as well as enhance good governance at all levels including our domestic financial system.

 

As a result, we have increased Grid distributed electricity some ten-fold and are on course to develop Hydro and Biomass as the core of our energy mix. Agricultural productivity has increased with improvements in food self-sufficiency, security and nutrition.

 

Indeed, Sierra Leone’s efforts have been recognized with His Excellency President Ernest Bai Koroma and the Minister of Agriculture being named the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) Champions of Africa.

 

Our Free Health Care program for lactating and pregnant mothers and children under five significantly reduced infant and maternal mortality by half in a little over a year after its launching. Commencing with the signing of the Gender Acts into law, we have also just recently enacted the Sexual Offences Act to protect women against the most widespread abuse and violation of rights in our country. We have also commenced free treatment of malaria for all age groups in all public health facilities when confirmed by the use of Rapid Diagnostic Test. Malaria control noted significant progress especially in the areas of prevention using Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets.

 

In education, primary, secondary and tertiary enrollments have risen significantly and the quality of the results of our candidates in external exams is also seriously improving.  We have reduced the barriers to doing business. We launched the largest road construction program in the history of Sierra Leone, privatized our sea port, and substantially upgraded our airport. These and the highly favorable private sector investment incentives have resulted in increased foreign direct investments substantially over the years.

 

 Mr. President,

 

Despite these achievements, Sierra Leone continues to face multiple challenges in building capacities in the public and private sectors, addressing unemployment among the youths, improving healthcare, reducing food insecurity and poverty, increasing investment in education, providing access to safe drinking water to all, meeting the increasing demand for sustained information and communication technologies, and providing sustainable energy to all. With the current global economic climate, Sierra Leone, like many others, continue to be affected in its quest to attract substantial donor support for its development projects.

 

Mr. President,

 

To achieve our common vision, bold actions are required from all of us. In particular, international support from traditional and non-traditional donors as well as promoting south-south and triangular cooperation is critical to achieving sustainable development. To achieve progress and in line with country specific priorities, there is a need for technology transfer and more investment in infrastructure, agriculture and social facilities and services as well as providing further incentives for foreign direct investment.

 

We are inspired by the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, and congratulate the high Level Working Group for work done, and financial commitments secured. Increased private sector participation in the energy delivery is a prerequisite to achieving sustainable development and therefore, the public sector needs to develop risk mitigation tools and instruments that will encourage private capital to be allocated without sacrificing the need for efficiency and appropriate returns. The private sector must in turn, look at the long term predictable income streams that the energy sector offers; and not ignore the stability that most developing countries and emerging democracies now enjoy; and therefore price their risks reasonably. Energy remains to be an important engine of growth and development as well as enhancing productive capacity and a catalyst for job creation.

 

In this regard, we are committed to intensify our cooperation within the triangular and south-South Cooperation aimed at building the productive capacity of the vulnerable members of the global community, most of who reside in Africa.

 

In concluding Mr. President, allow me to reiterate Sierra Leone’s commitment to furthering the objectives of NEPAD, the promotion of good governance, durable peace and sustainable development in the continent.

 

I thank you for your kind attention.

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