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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid