By Prudence Arobani
New York – The 21st century will see Africa take its rightful place on the world stage, Alpha Condé, the President of Guinea has told the 72nd Session of the General Assembly.
Condé, who also holds the current Presidency of the African Union, stated this in his address to the world leaders on the opening day of the general debate on Tuesday in New York.
“The 21st century will, without doubt, be a century in which Africans are going to are going to count for more and in a decisive way, ‘’he said.
He said his optimism was based on the fact that ‘’there is an ever-greater determination among Africa’s leaders and youths that the hour of renewal has arrived.’’
“Africa, formerly subjugated, ruthlessly exploited and molded by the will of others, has awakened. She has arisen to lead the battle for sustainable development, justice and good governance.”
He stressed that Africa’s lack of development was not its fated destiny, adding that it had been the most dynamic continent over the past decades.
Condé, however, stressed the need for economic diversification, industrialisation and the imperative of instructing and deploying two million community health workers throughout the continent.
Like his colleagues in the previous General Assembly Debates, Conde called for the enlargement of the 15-member Security Council.
Condé also called on the Council to reflect on the new realities of the world, including permanent seats with veto powers for African States.
The Council is that only UN body whose decisions are mandatory and have the force of international law.
Addressing the General Assembly, 22 days ahead of elections in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf expressed optimism that the polls would signal the “irreversible course” Liberia embarked upon to consolidate its young and post-conflict democracy.
She recalled that in September of 2006, she addressed the Assembly as the newly elected President of Liberia and the first woman to be democratically elected as Head of State on the African continent.
The Liberian leader said the coming elections, which would mark the end of her time in office, would pave way for the next generations of Liberians to lead the country into the future.
“The legislative and presidential polls will mark the first time in 73 years that political power will be handed over peacefully, and democratically, from one elected leader to another,” she said.
“Democracy is on the march in Liberia and, I believe on an irreversible path forward on the African continent,” the Liberian president said.
Johnson-Sirleaf acknowledged that Liberia had enjoyed the benefit of multilateralism through full support provided by the UN, the African Union and the ECOWAS.
President Edgar Lungu of Zambia, in his address, called for UN reforms, in particular to the Security Council to make the organisation more effective and efficient.
‘’The Security Council needs to be more representative, democratic and accountable to all UN Member States, he said.
Lungu also said that as Africa constitutes the second largest bloc of the UN membership, proposals to reform the Council “should heed Africa’s legitimate call”.