United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro (R) talks to an unidentified delegate after the official opening of the World YWCA Council of Women's Leadership on HIV and Aids Summit in Kenya's capital Nairobi, July 5, 2007. [Photo: Reuters]
Hello and welcome to this edition of Africa Express here on China Radio International. I'm your host, Wei Tong.
The theme of this year's summit of African Union recently held in Accra, Ghana was the creation of a continental integrated African government. One of the participants at the Summit was the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Asha Rose-Migiro. UN Radio Gerry Adams called her up in Accra to ask her to elaborate on the challenges of a Pan-African government.
Migiro: Some of these would relate to the very problems that affect individual governments. There are issues of good governance, democracy, human rights, issues of specific groups of rights that relate for instance to women or children - these could be some of the obstacles because you can see that in Africa, their position differs.
There are some countries that are more advanced in good governance and others are not. So these are the challenges we see toward getting an integrated Africa.
Adams: In your speech, you mentioned some of the obstacles to an integrated Africa and one of them included development and specifically health and HIV. Can you talk about that a bit?
Migiro: Yes. These are serious challenges to an integrated Africa in the sense that the problems of HIV and AIDS are the problems of child mortality and maternal mortality. All these eat into our development effort of the African continent. So they also have to develop common ways of addressing them. And on the other hand, the very fat that they are talking of integration means that they will have to deal with this issue as part of the process of development. They are an obstacle to integration but they are also an obstacle to development.
Adams: Regarding the MDGs and specifically maternal mortality, you mentioned that a woman in Africa has a one in 16 chance of dying in childbirth. Please give me some more information about child mortality and maternal mortality as it affects the MDGs.
Migiro: Child mortality continues to be a big problem in Africa as well as maternal mortality and mostly because the social services are inadequate. Women and children do not have access to health clinics, to hospitals. And there are questions of nutrition as well, all of which relate to the MDG goal number one that relates to poverty. Poverty puts African people in a cycle. You're poor. You cannot put in place social services. You have social services only a very few can access, puts them in sort of a cycle.
Dams: We are at the midpoint of the goal of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. What is your view of achieving them on time? Is there a difference between your view and that of the Secretary-General?
Migiro: Development reports have shown - that Africa lags behind and it is not likely that the continent will have implemented the goals by the year 2015. And this is why the Secretary-General has put in place a steering group to see how the process of MDGs could be even a bigger push. But in some countries on some of the goals they have made advancement. In Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, there is good progress in primary school enrolment. Malaria is being controlled in Niger, Togo and Zambia and¡ in other areas in relation to water and sanitation. So you can see that there has been progress here and there, but it's very sporadic, so to speak.
Adams: Final question ma'am - peace and security in Africa - how are we doing?
Migiro: Peace and security in Africa is fine. The situation compared to three or four years ago is better now. This morning I had the occasion to meet with a number of African leaders. There is satisfaction in Sierra Leone, in Cote d'Ivoire, in Liberia as well. I have met the leaders of this country and other leaders as well. So there is good progress in the area of peace and security.
But there are concerns also in some pockets, for instance, the DRC. (Democratic Republic of the Congo). There is still instability in the North Kivu. This is a constant concern. And I had the occasion to meet also with President Konare and other leaders to see what AU can do together with us, the United Nations in addressing all the issues there.
That was Asha Rose-Migiro, the Deputy UN Secretary-General speaking at the this year¡¯s Summit of African Union in Accra, Ghana.
That brings an end to today's edition of Africa Express. If you want to listen to the story again, you can log on to www.crienglish.com. You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am Wei Tong. Bye for now and hope you will join us next time!