New York, 31 March 2023 (TDI): The head of the African Union (AU) to the United Nations (UN), Mohamed Ibn Chambas highlighted the challenges & vulnerabilities to achieving the goal of ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa’ (STG) in United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday.
Executive Secretary Mohamed Ibn Chambas told the UNSC that the goal of ‘Silencing the Guns in Africa’ this decade is being challenged by climate change, terrorism, global pandemic, coups, and the continent’s history.
Attaining the goal is at risk even after the date was pushed back once to 2030, Mohamed Ibn Chambas said.
He pointed to constitutional, institutional, and cultural challenges as well as “Africa’s vulnerability to global economic shocks and weak implementation of international, national, and regional decisions on peace, security, and development.”
The leaders of the AU adopted the initiative of STG in a vision for “an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa” it originally stated that all guns would be silenced in 2023, but in December 2020 the AU decided to extend the date to 2030.
Notably, 2030 is the same year the UN set to achieve its 17 major development goals that are also lagging, including ending poverty, ensuring secondary education for all children, achieving gender equality, and providing affordable and clean energy.
While addressing the Council, the Executive Secretary said, “when AU leaders adopted the silencing the guns initiative they were motivated by the desire to bequeath future generations of Africans a continent free of wars and conflicts.”
The objective was to work toward “an Africa at peace with itself and with the rest of the world,” he said.
But today multiple challenges have put that goal at risk, starting with the widening gap between rich and poorer nations, and between elites and marginalized people and communities within countries.
Further, he also highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic “pushed 55 million Africans into poverty in 2020 and reversed more than two decades of progress in poverty reduction on the continent.”
He said, “equally alarming is the fact that 15 African countries are reportedly at risk of debt distress, and today the continent’s debt is more than $600 billion.”
Executive Secretary Chambas urged the world communities to step up the efforts to reduce the inequalities and make new investments in education, technology, and health while ensuring Africa’s young population could attain decent jobs.
He also stressed the crackdown against the illegal financial flows that deprive the continent of approximately $90 billion annually.