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Cooperation between Asia and Africa is key to global development

Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Former UN Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan will highlight the critical ties
between Asia and Africa, and call for more to be done to build a mutually
beneficial partnership, with poverty alleviation at its heart.

Singapore – In a public address at the University of Singapore today, Kofi A. Annan
will outline how Africa can learn from the approach of successful Asian nations, and
argue boldly that the region “has not just the means to help Africa but both a
responsibility and vital interest in doing so”.

Mr. Annan will say that African nations must take the lead in addressing the political,
economic and social challenges they face, not least in building nations underpinned
by good governance, and respect for the rule of law and human rights – key
elements for the success of any nation. But these challenges will be overcome much
more rapidly with support from the international community, especially Asia, which is
already reaping the benefits of substantial commercial and investment ties with the

Mr. Annan will argue that there are three ways in particular in which Asia can
support Africa along its development path:

• Asia and Africa must build a mutually beneficial partnership: Asia’s
growing engagement in Africa must be managed in a way “which translates
into tangible benefits for Africa’s citizens through sustainable economic
growth and poverty reduction. This will require a determination in Africa to
improve governance, which should be supported through technical assistance
and capacity building. It requires as well more responsible and transparent
investment from Africa’s Asian partners”, he will say.
• By sharing valuable experience and building much-needed capacity:
This is particularly the case with regard to how the state can be used as an
effective tool towards actively driving inclusive growth; building a knowledge
economy; and driving improvements in agricultural productivity.
• By supporting African priorities on the world stage: Mr. Annan will
argue “we must build on the long history of South-South cooperation to
complement and reinforce global development efforts”. This means
championing progress towards the UN Millennium Development Goals,
achieving an effective global response to climate change, and tackling unfair
international trade rules, which present Africa with such significant barriers to
economic growth.

Mr. Annan will not hide from the fact that elements of Asia’s relationship with African
nations have caused controversy, but will conclude by arguing that the partnership
“is on the right track”. He will note that Asian countries “were among the first to see
Africa as a place of opportunities rather than problems, bringing significant chances
for hundreds of millions of Africans”. Adding: “It is in all our interests that these
chances are seized. It is in all our interests that we see prosperity spread, human
rights respected, and conflicts resolved”.

Asia’s growing economic and political power can help Africa…
Notes to Editors
Media Contact

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