General Assembly

52nd Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 51st Session - Part 2

Self-help efforts of African countries praised in Assembly debate; response of international community said to fall short at 52nd plenary meeting of the 51st session.

Mid-term Review of United Nations Agenda for Development Of Africa in 1990s Said To Be Timely Stock-taking, More Progress Urged.

Many speakers this morning praised the efforts of African countries to achieve the goals set five years ago by the United Nations New Agenda for Development in Africa in the 1990s, as the General Assembly discussed what had been achieved mid-way through the decade.

At the same time, many described as inadequate the efforts of the international community, in particular the developed countries, to fulfil their obligations under the New Agenda. Representatives from Asia and from Latin America and the Caribbean, among others, joined African speakers in calling upon the international community to redouble its efforts in support of Africa's sustainable development.

The representative of Namibia said that five years after the international community had entered into a new partnership with Africa, the situation in some African countries had worsened and the targets of the New Agenda remained distant. While struggling with debt and dealing with declining revenues and trade, Africa had succeeded in democratizing, reforming and restructuring, but it remained unable to penetrate protected international markets.

Despite fiscal reforms undertaken by African nations, said the representative of Senegal, investment in Africa remained low. While Africa had done everything to meet its obligations under the New Agenda, the international community had not fulfilled its obligations. African nations expected real opportunities to be opened to them; to be allowed a place in the world economy; and for trade barriers to be eliminated and debt burdens eased.

The representative of the Republic of Korea highlighted the economic improvements in Africa by noting that the number of African countries with 6 per cent annual growth in gross domestic product (GDP) had increased from three to 12, and the countries with negative growth rates had dropped from 19 to three. He urged the international community to target the most needy in Africa and to focus on such areas as health, education, and agriculture. The representative of Jamaica said aid to Africa should be re-channelled to key development priorities. Resources should be allocated to conflict prevention and reconstruction in post-conflict countries.

Statements were also made by the representatives of Uganda, Andorra, United Republic of Tanzania, Guyana, India, Nigeria, Malawi, Egypt, Zambia, Viet Nam, Slovenia, Kuwait, Lesotho and Panama.

At the outset of this morning's meeting, the General Assembly accepted the names of candidates for election to the International Law Commission which had been received after the deadline of 1 June. The Assembly requested that the Secretary-General issue a consolidated list of candidates including those new nominees. Those elections are scheduled for Monday, 11 November.

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