UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has told attendees at the Africa Consultative Forum that the continent needs foreign aid and fairer trading terms if it is to achieve its Millennium Development Goals (MDGS). In his message delivered by a spokesperson at the forum held in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, Ban also stressed that the continent’s prosperity was contingent on the efforts of Africans themselves: “they need the tools with which they themselves will create jobs, generate income and unleash the continent’s own potential”.
Rwanda was commended by the Secretary –General for making remarkable strides in achieving close to universal primary school enrolment. The country is also reported by the UN to have registered the greatest increase in the use of insecticide treated bed nets, which protect 60 percent of Rwanda’s children. Furthermore, in 2008 the country was acknowledged for its progressive parliamentary composition, making history when its representation of women in parliament became the highest in the world.
Yet, progress has been less stable across the continent. Ban identified Africa as the continent with the biggest obstacles to overcome, as far as achieving the MDGs, which include targets pertaining to: income poverty, disease, gender, inequality, environmental preservation, hunger, maternal and child mortality. Progress in reducing the levels of maternal and child mortality has been especially slow, according to Ban.