Holy See: Africa Is Progressing, But Needs More

Archbishop Migliore Highlights Importance of Education

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NEW YORK, OCT. 23, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See says recent economic growth in Africa is encouraging, but the continent still needs a lot of aid, especially at it suffers from "brain drain" -- the exodus of skilled and educated workers to rich countries.



Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations, said this Friday at the 62nd session of the U.N. general assembly, which focused on the aid program called the New Partnership for Africa's Development.

Noting accelerated economic growth in the continent, the archbishop said, "This Africa-owned and Africa-led vision and strategic framework for Africa’s renewal has contributed in no small measure to this growth.

"Nevertheless, these positive signs stand in stark contrast with situations of conflict and the reality of extreme forms of poverty difficult to uproot. Africa still lags behind most of the regions of the world. Thus the international community’s support remains decisive, to assist Africa to respond to daunting challenges and to consolidate recent gains."

Archbishop Migliore noted the need for more peace-building initiatives in Africa.

"Initiatives such as the Continental Early Warning System and the regional conflict warning systems deserve the international community’s generous support," he said, "so that the continent’s increasing assumption of its share of responsibility in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace-building may be consolidated further."

Debt

Turning to socioeconomic questions, the prelate said: "To address the challenges of poverty eradication and sustainable development, Africa would need a comprehensive solution to the unsustainable debt burdens of some countries, fairer access to world market through equitable integration into the international trading system, the timely disbursement by the developed countries of the agreed 0.7% of gross national product as official development assistance, better harmonization between international support and the New Partnership for Africa's Development [NEPAD] priorities, greater and long-term investments in Africa’s public and private sector, transfer of technology, better educational and health systems, just to cite some.

"The international community is called to assist African countries develop policies that promote a culture of solidarity, so that their economic development may go hand in hand with integral human development."

Archbishop Migliore emphasized that education is a priority for the continent.

"Education must be at the heart of NEPAD’s objectives and priorities, not only as a goal in itself but also as a means in achieving the other objectives," he said. "Strategic partnerships in education and skills formation between institutions in Africa and in the developed world will no doubt accelerate progress in all sectors.

"These partnerships should extend to the movement of skilled labor. Africa, in fact, is suffering from brain drain, as many of its educated, talented and skilled human capital -- especially in the health sector -- leave the continent for better economic opportunities in rich countries.

"Persistent wars in Africa and their deleterious effects in terms of the displaced and refugees, and of the heinous crimes of child soldiers and violence against women, should remind us that peace and collective security are inseparable from human development."