UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon [official profile] said in a statement [text] delivered Sunday to the African Union [official website] summit that the leaders in Africa must increase efforts to lower poverty levels, end cycles of violence and accelerate development. Ban noted that while many countries have made strides to achieve the UN's eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) [official website], he expressed concern [press release] about the millions of Africans living in poverty and urged African leaders to reach the MDGs before the 2015 deadline. Ban applauded the gains of women in Africa, noting that more girls are in schools, more clinics help women survive childbirth, and more women are entering into the government. Ban noted of the economic gains African nations have achieved thus far:
Success will depend on ownership by governments and civil society. Our destination is clear: A future where Africa's wealth enriches all of Africa's people. Where misrule is only found in history books. Where Africa's goods get a fair price on the global market. Where global partnerships mean shared prosperity. African countries averaged a remarkable 5 per cent growth over the past decade—and are projected to grow by even more than 5 per cent by 2014. But economic expansion is not an end in itself. Wealth cannot remain in the hands of the few. Inequality is a recipe for instability.Regarding the ongoing crisis [JURIST report] in Mali [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Ban said the international community had a "moral imperative" to assist civilians in need.
Ban on Sunday also spoke [text] at an event for the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) [official website]. He noted that one out of every two women in Africa die in childbirth. To obtain results, Ban said Africa needed resources for high-impact interventions; innovative technologies and integrated services; increased investments in women and girls; advance all the MDGs; improve education; address hunger; and overcome poverty. Ban pledged that the United Nations would do "everything possible to support and expand the CARMMA campaign" to help reach the MDGs and make motherhood safer.