UN pledges support for Africa’s sustainable peace and development

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The UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, says the UN will continue to work tell with Africa to achieve sustainable peace and development.

She made this known at the 2024 Annual Conference and Lecture of the Association of Foreign Relations Professionals of Nigeria(AFRPN) in Abuja.

She spoke on “Unconstitutional Change of Government and Attainment of African Union’s 2063 Agenda and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The case of West Africa and the Sahel sub-region”

Mohammed said the conference theme was apt, following the need to build pathways for solutions to bridge political and social divides and enhance development in West Africa and the Sahel.

She said it was time to revisit and chart a better course toward a self-defined, inclusive and autonomous future for the continent.

“We must work together with ECOWAS to achieve its dream of an “ECOWAS of the People”, as it continues to reshape itself in line with emerging realities and changing aspirations in the region,”she said.

On increasing cases of unconstitutional change of government on the continent, the deputy secretary-general, stressed the need for good governance.

She said there was a need to foster inclusivity, accountability, and transparency in governance processes, while actively involving citizens in decision-making processes that affect their lives.

Mohammed said there was every tendency for citizens to lose faith and stop participating in democratic governance when there were no evidences of good governance.

She said such development often led to the boycotting of elections, tax evasion and in extreme cases, violent expression of discontent.

She said coups were only symptoms of deeper discontent, and must not to be dismissed.

“We must create the conditions that allow our citizens to address the root causes of political instability.

“This is even if it means having the courage to challenge the model, not the principles of democracy we practice.

“We need to tackle the broader underlying systemic factors that allow instability to take hold, starting with hunger, poverty, and a lack of education and opportunity.

“For instance, strengthening our social protection floors would allow us to deal with the complex issue of poverty and provide a level of dignity desired by all,” she said.

The deputy secretary-general called for promotion of economic diversification and innovation, fostering of social cohesion and environmental sustainability.

She further called for active participation of women and youth, not only as participants but leaders, in order to shape Africa’s future.

Mohammed also called on the need to strengthen institutions in Africa.

According to her, the African Union (AU) and its institutions, and the African Development Bank (AfDB) represent critical mechanisms for addressing common challenges and pursuing shared goals.

“By investing in these institutions and empowering them to fulfill their mandates effectively, we demonstrate our commitment to a vision of regional cooperation and solidarity.

“However, rebuilding the social contract cannot be achieved through institutional measures alone.

“It also requires a genuine commitment to the principles upon which the AU was founded.

“A united Africa, characterised by peace, prosperity and shared progress,”she said.

Mohammed said, negotiations were underway on a Pact for the Future, that would include specific commitments on peace and security, the global financial architecture among others.

“More countries are currently discussing steps to make international financial institutions more responsive to today’s challenges and more representative of today’s world.

“The time has come to update our collective security toolbox so that we can find pathways to end existing conflicts and prevent new ones in traditional and new domains.

She said against the backdrop the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres would be host a “Summit of the Future” in September.

According to her, the summit would focus on reforming and revitalising multilateralism, rebuilding trust and global solidarity, and strengthening international cooperation.

She added that the summit would be “a moment to show that we are capable of putting aside our differences and take key decisions on the issues that affect us all.

“The summit will further consider a global digital compact that would outline shared principles for an open, free and security digital future for all.”

Mohammed called for rethinking of the continent’s global structures to better support it and the developing world at large.

She said, “for too long, the international governance architecture has ignored the voices of the Global South.

“Our countries have been continually denied a seat at critical decision-making tables.

“Ranging from multilateral development banks to the UN Security Council.

“They are also left behind when it comes to equitable access to basic equalisers.

“Equalisers such as technology and its digital advancements, knowledge sharing and technological transfer, including intellectual property rights.”

She further said, “we have all witnessed the disastrous results of these global imbalances, the stagnation and stalemate; the injustice and exclusion of billions of people.

“The Global North has been able to employ monetary measures to support their economies in times of crisis and recovery.

“In contrast, African countries and other developing countries have been forced to increase their debt burden to address inflation, invariably the negative impact of external policies.

“As a result, the Global South is trapped servicing debts, leaving no fiscal space to address the fundamental needs of its population.”

Mohammed said Africa may appear down but not out.

She called on African leaders to continue to forge a path towards delivering the vision for the Continent as enshrined in Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda.


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