“Africa is one of the greatest forces for good in our world.”

The Director General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, spoke at the African Union Summit last week, reaffirming the UN’s commitment to partnership with the African Union, and African countries. He said,  “I strongly believe Africa is one of the greatest forces for good in our world.”

Mr Guterres’ speech lauded the cooperation between the AU and UN. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and African Union’s Agenda 2063 are “mutually reinforcing,” he said.

Other areas of the speech in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, focussed on challenges, with Mr Guterres highlighting addressing corruption, cooperation in peace and security, inclusive and sustainable development, climate change, and international migration.

The AU has designated 2018 as African Anti-Corruption Year in a bid to tackle the problem. It was the main theme of the summit, combatting impact of corruption, tax evasion and illicit financial flows. Mr Guterres spoke of how the international community had a responsibility to tackle tax evasion and illicit financial flows that were depriving Africa of essential resources.

On sustainable development there was discussion of poverty elimination, industrialisation, water, energy, infrastructure and the environment, as well as education and the involvement of women and young people.

This comes at the same time as the UN announced that 59 million young people have been forced into illiteracy by conflicts and disasters. Nearly three in ten young people aged between 15 and 24 and living in countries affected by conflict or disasters are illiterate. The numbers are higher for girls than for boys.

“These numbers are a stark reminder of the tragic impact that crises have on children’s education, their futures, and the stability and growth of their economies and societies,” said Henrietta H. Fore, the Executive Director of UNICEF, in a news release announcing the findings.

“An uneducated child who grows into an illiterate youth in a country ripped apart by conflict or destroyed by disasters may not have much of a chance.”

These issues highlight the importance of sustainable solutions to alleviate poverty. For the Gardiner Foundation, we believe small business ownership is the best way for people to work themselves, their families and communities out of poverty.

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