JAKAYA MRISHO KIKWETE, President of United Republic of Tanzania, said through the 50 years of its independence, his country had always believed that mediation, conflict prevention and pacific settlements of disputes were the best means for resolving conflicts. Over the years, it had contributed to mediation efforts, along with decolonization initiatives in Africa. Only Western Sahara remained outstanding, and he hoped the United Nations would expedite the process so that the Saharans could determine their future. He also supported Palestine’s quest for an independent homeland, and called for the end of embargoes on Cuba. “The people of these two countries have suffered far too long,” he said. “It is time their burdens are eased from their shoulders.” The United Republic of Tanzania would also never tire in its efforts to establish the United States of Africa, knowing that would be a gradual process and regional economic integration would be its foundation and building blocks.
He said that it was through multilateralism that nations and peoples could be brought together to shape their present and future, guaranteeing peace and development. The United Nations was as relevant today as it was 66 years ago, however, reform of multilateral institutions was needed to overcome governance deficits and make the Organization more representative of developing countries. United Nations Security Council reforms should be expedited to include developing countries, he said, noting that no progress was being made now. Development was a core function of the United Nations, but good intentions had been stymied by countries not meeting their official development assistance (ODA) commitments of contributing 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP). He appealed to those countries to keep their promises.
Support was especially needed now, he continued, as growth in African countries declined sharply from the recorded average 6 per cent before the financial crisis. Democracy was on the march in Africa and the Arab Spring capped it all. In addition, peace was reigning almost all over the continent, except Somalia. “All that Africa needs most is continued support to build the institutions of democracy and governance, as well as building economies and overcoming some serious challenges,” he said. Among such challenges, food security and piracy activity demanded serious attention and international support.