UN Secretary General visited Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan from the 22nd to the 26th of February.
Burundi – UN efforts to resolve political crisis
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Bujumbura, Burundi on February 22nd, to begin his multiple visits in African countries.
During his visit, Mr. Ban won pledge with the President Nkurunziza to withdraw some media bans, cancel arrest warrants and release detainees as first encouraging steps towards ending months of violence in the Burundi crisis. Mr. Nkunrunziza also promised to engage in an inclusive dialogue with opposition leaders to discuss the future of the country, and to ensure that the population live in a peaceful and secure environment in which they can enjoy human rights.
Mr. Ban also stressed the urgency to start developing a mechanism of early action- what he called a preventive diplomacy, and shift focus from crisis response.
DR Congo – Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference
After his visit in Burundi, Mr. Ban joined the Great Lakes Private Sector Investment Conference gathering prominent local leaders in sectors of politics, business, and civil society organizations. The conference brought them to share ideas and experiences on the importance of “attracting private investment, promoting business activity and enhancing regional economic cooperation and integration in the region.”(1)
Mr. Ban said that the leaders “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.” He furthered highlighted that the people residing in the Great Lake region look to these prominent leaders “to strengthen productive capacity; create decent jobs and livelihoods; improve economic governance; and foster inclusive development and shared prosperity.”
Mr. Ban also asked the development leaders to join efforts to further advance regional integration that will create larger markets and stock of resources, and the productivity of private investments.
UN Chief left the conference being confident that the region has the capacity to become an “engine for development and economic growth” insofar as efforts are constructive.
South Sudan – Leaders called to rebuild peace and focus on the country’s humanitarian crisis.
On Thursday February 25th, the UN chief appealed to the South Sudan president and rebel leaders to respect the peace agreement reached last August that ended two years of civil wars. He called upon them to prioritize peace over political issues and stressed the emergency of establishing a Transitional Government of National Unity to protect the civilian population.
“Put peace above politics. Pursue compromise. Overcome obstacles. Establish the Transitional Government of National Unity. And do not delay it.” Mr. Ban emphasized to the leaders of South Sudan.
Along with this, $21m in emergency money were promised to be released for aid from the Central Emergency Response Fund to assist the affected people of the conflict in South Sudan.
“These much-needed resources will provide protection and relief when it is needed most” Mr. Ban told in a statement.
Learn more about UN Secretary General’s visits in Africa by watching UN Week in Review video.
By Magalie Bemba
(1) UN News Service Section,. “UN News – Ban Highlights Private-Sector Investment For Potential To ‘Transform’ Africa’S Great Lakes Region”. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.
Aljazeera.com,. “UN Chief Urges South Sudan Rivals To Respect Peace Deal”. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.
euronews,. “Burundi: Ban Ki-Moon Wins Pledge Of ‘Inclusive Dialogue’”. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.
ReliefWeb,. “United Nations Emergency Fund Releases $21 Million To Assist People Affected By Conflict In South Sudan”. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.
UN News Service Section,. “UN News – Ban Highlights Private-Sector Investment For Potential To ‘Transform’ Africa’S Great Lakes Region”. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.
UN News Service Section,. “UN News – ‘Put Peace Above Politics,’ Ban Tells Leaders Of South Sudan”. N.p., 2016. Web. 26 Feb. 2016.