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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid