President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa addresses the UN General Assembly

President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-second session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

20 September 2017 – Warning that Africa is beset by the double scourge of the disparity of the global economy and illicit financial outflows, South African President Jacob Zuma today called on the United Nations to play a central role in tackling both issues, which are major obstacle to full development.

“The current structure of the global economy continues to deepen the divide between the global north and global south,” he told the General Assembly’s 72nd annual general debate. “While a few enjoy the benefits of globalization, the majority of the world’s peoples still live in abject poverty and hunger, with no hope of ever improving their living conditions.

“We need the political will and commitment from global leaders to address the challenges and obstacles posed by this untransformed structure of the global economy, if we hope to achieve the goals and ambitions of Agenda 2030,” he added, referring to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to eliminate a host of socials ills, such as hunger and diseases, all by 2030.

Mr. Zuma stressed that Africa continues to lose a significant chunk of its resources through illicit financial outflows, billions of dollars which would otherwise be used to develop the continent, and provide education, healthcare, housing and other critical basic needs, with money laundering, corruption, and transfer pricing by among multinational companies among the biggest challenges.

“We appeal for the cooperation and commitment of every member state of the United Nations, and the International community at large to address this phenomenon,” he said.

“Developed countries in particular, have a historic and moral obligation to contribute to achieving a fair global economic environment, and to eradicate the scourge of illicit financial flows from the continent. The UN should also be at the centre of addressing this problem.”

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