Still Our Common Interest launched at MDG Summit

The Commission for Africa yesterday held the New York launch of its report to coincide with the start of the Millennium Development Goal Summit in New York.

The launch was hosted at the Rockefeller Foundation at the beginning of the week-long Summit which will consider progress against the MDGs, which were set in 2000 as targets for the world’s efforts to tackle global poverty – and are due to be achieved by 2015.

Commissioners President Benjamin Mkapa, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Bob Geldof were joined by UN Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro and UK International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell MP in welcoming the report.

Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin opened the event and underlined the Foundation’s own commitment to supporting growth and development in Africa.

President Mkapa, who co-chairs the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF), lauded the progress made by Africa in breaking down the barriers to doing business on the continent and thanked donors, such as the UK and Germany, for the support they had given to the ICF.

Prime Minister Meles welcomed the report’s recognition of the progress made in Africa over the past five years, but called on both Africa and the international community to redouble efforts to push forward growth and promote development.

Prime Minister Meles also welcomed the UK Government’s continued support for international development despite cuts elsewhere in its budget, and Andrew Mitchell reinforced his government’s ongoing commitment to the MDGs and called upon the international community to continue to focus on them.

Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro reinforced those sentiments, welcoming the report’s input into the discussions that were to take place over the coming week.

Bob Geldof closed proceedings, saying that the MDGs were a “gift that the world had given to itself” ten years ago and calling on the international community to put all its efforts into ending the “economic illiteracy” that is poverty.

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