News / Africa

Africa Progress Report Blasts Poor Governance

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (2nd R) addresses a session alongside Kofi Annan (L), chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution, Irish rock star Bob Geldof (2nd L) and Peter Eigen, a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), during the WorlFormer Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (2nd R) addresses a session alongside Kofi Annan (L), chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution, Irish rock star Bob Geldof (2nd L) and Peter Eigen, a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), during the Worl
x
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (2nd R) addresses a session alongside Kofi Annan (L), chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution, Irish rock star Bob Geldof (2nd L) and Peter Eigen, a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), during the Worl
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (2nd R) addresses a session alongside Kofi Annan (L), chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution, Irish rock star Bob Geldof (2nd L) and Peter Eigen, a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), during the Worl
Peter Heinlein
ADDIS ABABA - The World Economic Forum on Africa has ended with a fresh call for the continent's leaders to deliver in areas ranging from jobs to justice and better governance. Former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan used the full weight of his reputation to pressure leaders to improve the lives of their citizens.

At 74, Kofi Annan is going strong. Six years after he completed two terms at the helm of the United Nations, the Ghanaian statesman is a driving force at this international gathering of business and political leaders.

With rock legend Bob Geldof at his side, Mr. Annan on Friday released a report card on Africa's progress. It warned that the continent's impressive economic growth is at risk as hundreds of millions of young Africans reach maturity over the next few years without jobs or hope of a better life.

Kofi Annan, Chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa address a news conference during the World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 10, 2012.Kofi Annan, Chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa address a news conference during the World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 10, 2012.
x
Kofi Annan, Chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa address a news conference during the World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 10, 2012.
Kofi Annan, Chairman of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa address a news conference during the World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 10, 2012.
"Growth is essential, but growth without jobs, justice and equity is a recipe for disaster," Anan said. "As we are seeing in the current dissatisfaction and frustration reverberating around the world, these deep and enduring inequalities in evidence across the continent are ethically indefensible, economically inefficient and potentially destabilizing."

The former U.N. chief said Africa's political progress is fragile, and in danger of sliding backward toward the bad old days of frequent military coups.

"The recent events in Senegal demonstrate how fragile our democracies are," said Annan. "Senegal gave us a wonderful example of how to hold elections. And the democratic reversals we've seen in Mali and Guinea also pose serious challenges for us."

Several events at this economic forum have addressed the pressing need to empower African women. Earlier, leaders spoke of the difficulty in recruiting qualified women to politics and government.

In his comments to reporters, Annan flatly rejected that line of thinking. "I have seen African political parties saying we cannot find women candidates. It's a lie," he said.

"There are plenty of good women candidates around," Annan continued. "The same political parties who cannot find women, if you were to come up with a quota, and to say one-third of the parliament should be women, they would suddenly find brilliant women candidates because they want to win."

Annan avoided commenting on his attempt to broker a peace deal in Syria, knowing anything he would say about his diplomatic mission would overshadow the points he wants to make about Africa. In comments to VOA, he said he will keep on using his voice as a force for change on the continent of his birth.

"It's still important and it's still necessary. It's a continent with big potential, and we should help to realize that potential," he said.

Q: Do you feel like you're making significant progress? Do you think you'll see it in your lifetime?
A: We are making progress, and I will see some of it in my lifetime, not all of it, and there will be others to carry on the struggle."

Annan said if he has one priority for Africa, it is education.  With 60 percent of the continent's estimated one billion people under 30, he said an educated work force will be key to attracting the foreign investment needed to create the jobs that will be essential to sustaining political and economic stability.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid