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Ban highlights private-sector investment for potential to 'transform' Africa's Great Lakes region

Ban highlights private-sector investment for potential to 'transform' Africa's Great Lakes region

India Blooms News Service | | 25 Feb 2016, 08:41 am
New York, Feb 25 (Just Earth News/IBNS) Although the succession of violence and suffering has sometimes prevented countries in the African Great Lakes from achieving their potential, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that the hard-working people must be given more opportunities to use their abundant natural resources in order to address the root causes of conflict and ultimately transform the region.

Addressing the Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference in Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) earlier today, the UN chief said that participants had joined together to share ideas and experiences underscoring the importance of attracting private investment, promoting business activity and enhancing regional economic cooperation and integration in the region.

“Together, you have begun identifying regional investment opportunities, reviewing the investment climate, and beginning a dialogue between public and private sectors on how best to move forward,” Ban said participants at the event, which runs two days and seeks to bring together actors from the public and private sectors with current and prospective interest in the region.

The conference came at a “particularly opportune moment,” in the wake of the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change and theSustainable Development Goals, in which world leaders had pledged to end poverty by 2030 and leave no one behind, Ban said.

“But it will not happen on its own. Everyone must play a part,” Ban stressed. “All of you are critical. It is absolutely vital that investments are aligned to the implementation of these landmark accords,” he added.

The UN chief noted that he was pleased that the journey leading to the current conference was inclusive and involved consultations with Governments, business leaders, entrepreneurs and civil society organizations.

When the idea for the conference came about two years ago, “leaders recognized that peace and development are two sides of the same coin,” Ban said. “They understood that the lack of jobs and opportunities creates a breeding ground for conflict – and that conflict itself is the biggest obstacle to human development.”

Ban also recalled a visit to the Great Lakes region that he undertook in 2013 with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, in which they sent the “strong message” that peace and development should go hand-in-hand.

Turning to Government leaders of governments of the Great Lakes region, Ban highlighted that by lending their support to the conference, they were showing their “resolve to improve the investment climate.” Governments had also committed to enact policies to help expand the domestic private sector, and to make it possible for micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises to grow.

“As you do so, I encourage you to create an environment that ensures business operations and investments are responsible and sustainable, and predictable,” Ban stressed. “We know that this is an essential ingredient to long-term economic growth and building trust in societies.”

Speaking to the African private-sector leaders, Ban said that the people of the Great Lakes region count them – business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors – to fully contribute to the goal of transforming the region.

Urging the leaders to ensure that their actions can help realize the Sustainable Development Goals and advance the Paris Agreement, Ban said that the people of the region look to them “to strengthen productive capacity; create decent jobs and livelihoods; improve economic governance; and foster inclusive development and shared prosperity.”

Ban also asked development partners to work to build and enhance the productive capacities of Great Lakes States.

“Help to integrate the region into international value chains that change the nature of exports from raw materials to value-added exports,” he said.

He also asked global business leaders and investors at the conference to join efforts to build bridges to regional integration that will create larger markets and pools of resources, and deliver generous returns on private investments.

“We are in the heart of Africa. This region can also be an engine for development and economic growth, building on the progress that has been made over the years. All of you are pivotal to forging that path,” the UN chief said.

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm