African leaders highlight UN’s ability to support countries and rid world of fear and violence

29 September 2015 – The UN has played a significant role in reducing conflicts on the African continent and in other parts of the world was a message underlined by a number of African leaders who addressed the United Nations General Assembly today during the annual general debate.

“Namibia is a child of international solidarity, midwifed by the United Nations,” Hage G. Geingob, the Namibian President, told world leaders from the podium. “After the termination of South Africa’s mandate over the then South West Africa, the United Nations assumed direct responsibility over Namibia.”

Namibia attained independence in 1990, and, according to President Geingob, was able to develop the necessary building to construct its democracy thanks to the UN.

“We are in the process of establishing a new Africa, with its own narrative as told by its sons and daughters,” the President continued. “Africa has turned a new leaf, bidding farewell to the days of coup d’états and embracing electoral democracy. We as Africans, through the African Union, have ostracized those who come to office through unlawful ways.”

The Namibian leader explained that the recent coup in Burkina Faso is an example of the continent’s zero tolerance policy towards those who come to power through illegal ways, and called for the establishment of processes, systems and institutions to ensure electoral democracy.

“This will ensure that those who lose at the polls accept the results,” he stressed. “By doing so, we can bring to an end a situation where those who lose at the polls feel left out, defeated and therefore choose to wage war.”

The President further noted that Namibia is rated number sixth overall as the best governed country on the African continent by the Mo Ibrahim index of African governance, and number seven in Africa as a “clean country” in terms of corruption by transparency international.

“We are still faced with enormous social disparities between the rich and poor, amongst others,” he warned. “Noticeable is the critical shortage of housing and other basic necessities.”

President Geingob also recalled that on the day he was sworn in as President last March, he announced that the Namibian Government was declaring “all-out war on poverty.”

“I would like to add that one of the most impactful interventions we can make in the war against poverty is through empowering women, who although representing half of the world’s population, account for nearly 70 per cent of the world’s poor,” he stated.

Namibia is currently second to Rwanda in terms of female representation in Parliament, at 47 per cent.

Meanwhile, also addressing the General Assembly today was King Mswati III of Swaziland.

King Mswati III of Swaziland addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventieth session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

He appealed to the UN to continue helping Africa emerge from the cycle of poverty and disease as the continent seeks to attain the aspirations of its vision 2063, aimed at eradicating poverty and creating prosperity for all.

“Africa has a great potential for investment,” King Mswati III declared. “What remains is creating the requisite environment for economic growth. We strongly believe that the structures of the UN can provide a peaceful global village that is free of fear and violence.”

He noted that the “impressive progress” witnessed during the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) gives his country confidence in that the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will enjoy greater success.

“We have good reason to anticipate a sustainable transformation of nations over the next 15 years,” he said, adding that Swaziland looks forward to a legally binding global climate agreement at the UN climate change conference (COP21) in France later this year.

He also highlighted that the secret of his Kingdom has been consultation and dialogue to build consensus, describing it as a “model of peace that has a place in the execution of UN operations.”