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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary General says Africa must have seats at multilateral forums

By Busayo Onijala

Lagos, May 25, 2024

United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres says Africa must have a seat at every multilateral forum including the UN Security Council, the international financial system, and other global norm-setting structures.

He made this known on Saturday, in his message on the 2024 Africa Day.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Africa Day is observed annually to celebrate the achievements of the Organisation of African Unity, the African Union’s predecessor.

The theme for this year’s commemoration is “Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century.”

Guterres lauded the dynamic contributions of Africans to the world, noting that Africa’s young and growing population, its rich natural resources, breathtaking beauty and cultural diversity gave it outsize potential.

According to him, initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Area and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, along with Africa’s growing voice, including leadership in renewable energy, can help realise its potential.

He said a bright future for Africa’s 1.2 billion people meant addressing the challenges blocking its progress.

These, he said include the effects of climate change, deadly conflicts and unconstitutional changes of government, hunger, poverty, inequality and crushing debt burdens.

“We must work side by side with Africa to build green economies anchored on renewable energy, and ensure that the continent’s critical mineral resources benefit Africans first and foremost.

“We must strengthen our collaboration to safeguard human rights, counter terrorism and violent extremism, and finally, silence the guns across Africa.

“The UN Security Council’s recent resolution to support African-led peace operations is an important step,” he said.

Guterres said rescuing  the Sustainable Development Goals would require reforming the international financial architecture so developing countries could access the resources needed to invest in the future of their people.

“On Africa Day, let’s renew our pledge to stand with all Africans in their quest to lead their continent and our world into a peaceful and prosperous future for all.”

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