UN Secretary-General set to change Africa's narrative

Antonio Guterres has said that there are better things about the continent than crises.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was extremely concerned about the state of human rights around the world, remarks that came as US President Donald Trump was reportedly preparing to suspend the US refugee program

Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Mr Stephane Dujarric, told the UN Correspondents at a news briefing on Friday that Guterres official trip to Africa was fruitful.

The UN chief, who returned this week from a trip to the 28th AU summit in Addis Ababa, said he met with AU leaders on South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and other key areas.

The Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that Guterres had, in his post-AU Summit news briefing on Wednesday, called for better narratives about Africa.

He said that there are better things about the continent than crises, adding “Africa has many remarkable success stories”.

“Our narrative of Africa must not just be based on crises that exist in Africa. There are crises everywhere. There are crisis in Europe, Middle East, Asia.

“What is important is for us to understand the enormous potential that Africa represents.

“That Africa is the continent that has grown more economically in the last decade, that it has remarkable success stories; that we need to also take profit of the momentum created by these facts.

“We want to make sure that Africa wins the battle for sustainable and inclusive development in the next few years.

“This is because we know that it is the best way to prevent the conflicts that unfortunately created so much suffering on the continent.”

The UN chief lauded the region for its recent summit, saying that AU and UN were able to enhance their cooperation.

“First of all, we established with the African Union, an enhanced platform for cooperation.

“I was invited for a breakfast meeting with all African Heads of States to discuss the situation on the continent and the global situation,” he said.

He added that it was agreed that in every AU Summit in January, there would be a breakfast meeting between the UN secretary-general and African Heads of States.

“This translates to the strong commitment of the AU to a very close relationship with the UN.

“At the same time, we have agreed that the Agenda 2063, which is the Development Agenda of the AU and the Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Agenda, will be aligned.”

He explained that there would be only one line of reporting, which meant that there would be total cooperation between the UN and the AU.

“This is in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals and the implementation of the Paris Agreement in the years to come,” Guterres said.

The UN chief also commended ECOWAS and the AU for their intervention in political crisis in The Gambia and lauded the region for its contributions to promoting peace and security.

“What the Gambia episode has demonstrated is that when the neighbours of a country are together, when the sub-regional African organisation is united and the African Union is united, then it is possible for it also to decide.

“It is possible for action to be taken and for democracy, human rights and the freedom of the people to be defended.

“When there is division in the region, it is much more difficult for the UN to be able to act accordingly.

According to him, his objective was to establish a higher platform of cooperation between the two organisations.

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