Remarks by Cheryl Saban, Senior Advisor, in the UN General Assembly during the Joint Plenary on "New Partnership for Africa's Development" and "2001-2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, Particularly in Africa"

Cheryl Saban, Senior Advisor
New York, NY
October 17, 2012




AS PREPARED

Mr. President, the United States welcomes the report of the Secretary General on the “New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)” and the report “2001-2010: Decade to Roll Back Malaria in developing countries and particularly Africa”. We appreciate the opportunity to address them together.

The United States strongly supports Africa’s on-going efforts to generate broad-based, sustained and equitable economic growth that allows African countries to reduce poverty and integrate into the global economy.

The United States has supported and will continue to support the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, as the African states’ collective vision and strategic framework for socioeconomic development in Africa.

NEPAD is bearing fruit. As the Secretary General’s report notes, there has been real progress by African states and their partners, as evidenced by increasing economic growth, exports, and foreign direct investment. According to World Bank data released earlier this month, Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at 4.8 percent in 2012, broadly unchanged from the 4.9 percent growth rate in 2011 and largely on track despite setbacks in other regions. African exports rebounded well in the first quarter of 2012, growing at an annual pace of 32 percent, up from the 11 percent pace recorded in the last quarter of 2011.

Moreover, a third of African economies will grow at or above 6 percent, a longer term trend based on continued strong investor interest in the region, with $31 billion in foreign direct investment inflows expected this year, despite difficult global conditions.

We agree with the Secretary General’s conclusion that creating the conditions for sustained and inclusive economic growth will permit African populations to benefit more broadly from better incomes and living standards. To this end, the United States supports NEPAD priorities for democratization, good governance and economic transparency, as well as its activities to enhance regional and national level infrastructure and food security and nutrition. So much will depend upon active public-private partnerships.

In response to Africa’s urgent food security and nutrition challenges, the United States’ Feed the Future Initiative pledges over $3.5 billion during three years to assist countries in southern, eastern, and western Africa to boost regional agricultural capacity, increase private sector investment in agriculture, and integrate national and regional markets to improve efficiency, and ability to respond to crises.

Another initiative, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, was launched by G-8 and Africa leaders together at last May’s G-8 Summit, It is a shared commitment to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth in Africa with the goal of raising 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years. To this end, international and African private companies have pledged over $3.5 billion to agricultural and nutritional investments in Africa.

More generally, we are encouraged by the efforts of African states to create an enabling business environment inclusive of infrastructure development. This is critical for attracting domestic investment and encouraging a vibrant private sector. We commend the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency for its efforts alongside the African Union, the United Nations, and the African Development Bank to drive and secure such infrastructure improvements across the continent.

Such activities in support of public-private partnerships demonstrate the recognition that official development assistance alone will not reap the desired results.

Public-private partnerships in other critical areas, such as education in Africa, are also moving forward apace. The UNESCO Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education , which the United States co-launched, leverages public-private partnerships to address gender disparities and to provide quality education for women and girls. It is showing success in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Lesotho and Senegal.

We agree with the Secretary General’s conclusion that in a resource-constrained environment, the several dozen United Nations entities and affiliates must work alongside their African partners to make efficient and effective use of resources in step with national blueprints and regional programs in line with NEPAD’s collective vision.

Mr. President, the United States joined consensus on the resolution entitled “New Partnership for Africa’s Development: progress in implementation and international support” adopted earlier this year (66/286). It did so in support of this African-owned and African-led initiative, especially in the important areas of agriculture, infrastructure, education, health, empowerment of women, and the environment. In anticipation of a draft resolution for the consideration of the Sixty-seventh Assembly, my Delegation looks forward to keeping the focus on Africa and its special needs.

Mr. President, today the Assembly also addresses its agenda item on the Decade to Roll Back Malaria. The United States is committed to addressing the prevention and treatment of malaria to improve the health and well-being of citizens living in malaria-endemic settings, particularly young children and pregnant women, those most affected by this devastating disease. We further recognize the negative impact of malaria on household incomes and economic and social development inaffected countries. Though the “Decade to Roll Back Malaria” has concluded, the disease persists. We must continue to support malaria prevention, treatment, and control efforts.

The President Obama’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) and our contributions to the Global Fund are part of this critical effort. The goal of the PMI is to achieve Africa-wide impact by halving the burden of malaria in 70 percent of at-risk populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Through the PMI, which is a core component of President Obama’s Global Health Initiative, we are meeting our commitment to substantially increase funding to combat malaria up to $5 billion over six years starting in 2009. Between 2009 and 2012, the United States more than doubled its funding to expand malaria prevention and treatment from $300 million to over $600 million. In 2011 alone, the President’s Malaria Initiative programming protected 58 million individuals in 19 focus countries in Africa and the Greater Mekong Subregion of Southeast Asia.

The Global Fund is a key vehicle for shared responsibility and the world’s largest external source of finance for malaria control programs, providing three-fourths of all international financing. The United States is the largest donor to the Global Fund, having contributed more than $7.1 billion of the $19.1 billion in public and private funding received to date. The United States contribution to the Global Fund supports in-country capacity-building and health system strengthening as well as direct service delivery.

We encourage all donor and recipient nations to support global malaria-control efforts through appropriate financial contributions and stronger political commitments. The most recent malaria resolution, “Consolidating Gains and Accelerating Efforts to Control and Eliminate Malaria in Developing Counties, Particularly in Africa, by 2015” (A/66/289) adopted by consensus last month acknowledged the progress made in parts of Africa in reversing the malaria epidemic and the importance of strengthening health systems. It also recognized that increased global and national investments in malaria control have yielded significant results and that some countries were moving towards malaria’s elimination. However, many countries still have high burdens of malaria, requiring a rapid increase in prevention and control efforts. Towards that goal, the resolution called on Member States, particularly malaria-endemic countries, to strengthen national policies and operational plans, with a view to scaling up efforts to achieve internationally agreed malaria targets for 2015. We urge affected nations, especially in Africa, to increase their own domestic spending on malaria control as part of their overall plans to boost the share of their national budgets devoted to health.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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PRN: 2012/228