United Nations, Sep 27 — Africa today will not be divided or deterred by those wishing to disrupt its progress, President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana asserted amidst growing fears about the continent’s emergence as a terror target.
President Mahama was among the several African leaders who told the UN General Assembly that they would fight forces which want to disrupt development and human security in their continent.
Last weekend’s attack by Islamic group al-Shabaab on an upscale shopping mall in Nairobi in Kenya marked the continuation of a disturbing trend in a growing number of countries and regions in northern and sub-Saharan Africa.
The last year has seen an intensification of the “Boko Haram” insurgency in Nigeria, an Islamist jihad in Mali and attacks on a natural gas facility in Algeria. Authorities in countries as diverse as Senegal and Niger have voiced concern about the potential for jihadist movements to take root.
President Mahama recalled his country’s cooperation with its neighbours to maintain regional stability and restore security in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali.
In Ghana itself, the result of his recent election had been contested and formally challenged in the Supreme Court. “What made this situation noteworthy was the reliance, by all parties involved, on the rule of law,” he noted, pointing to the transparency of the process and the overall strengthening of democratic institutions in Africa.
Six of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies are in Africa and Mahama stressed the need to translate that growth into jobs for the young.
The African leaders stressed the importance of multi-lateralism and called for UN reform, especially with regard to the Security Council.
Samura Kamara, Sierra Leone minister for foreign affairs and international cooperation, called for urgent reform of the Security Council, emphasizing the need for equitable geographical representation.
The African Common Position on the matter was articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration, he said.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe condemned “illegal” economic sanctions imposed on his country by the United States and the European Union, saying they were in violation of the fundamental UN principles of state sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs.
The Assembly also heard from the prime minister of the Central African Republic, the presidents of Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Somalia and Guinea-Bissau, the vice-president of South Sudan and the foreign ministers of Algeria, Burundi and Benin.