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Private Sector Declaration Presented to Heads of State at the African Union Summit

(New York, 6 February 2008) – The final declaration of the 2008 African Private Sector Forum was presented last week to Heads of State and Government Ministers on the opening day of the 10th African Union Summit. The declaration, which stressed the importance of joint commitment and action by the public and the private sectors to contribute to the acceleration of Africa’s progress and development, had been negotiated and adopted by more than 200 African business leaders representing 33 countries across the continent during the Private Sector Forum, held in Addis Ababa on 22-23 January. The Forum focused on the role of the private sector and corporate citizenship in advancing Africa’s industrial development, and was jointly organized by the African Union Commission and the United Nations Global Compact.

Dr. Cecilia Ibru, Chief Executive of Oceanic Bank International Plc, Nigeria, delivered the declaration on behalf of the Forum participants to more than 35 Heads of State and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as numerous Government Ministers and representatives of the international community.

The declaration calls for political will and commitment to provide a conducive regulatory and enabling environment, increased public support for corporate responsibility instruments such as the Global Compact, and a more committed approach from policy makers regarding the regional integration of the continent. Moreover, the declaration urges the public sector to work with the private sector, particularly in areas where the private sector has core competencies.

At the same time, the declaration urges businesses to align their efforts and provide full support for government priorities; adopt the principles of the Global Compact; take a proactive approach to local community development, protection of the environment and existing social structures; and to form partnerships and engage in dialogue with their stakeholders.

In his remarks during the opening ceremony of the African Union Summit, the Secretary-General highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship and efforts to strengthen the African business sector. “But business growth must also be rooted in practices that respect fundamental human rights, that ensure safe and decent workplace conditions, that protect the environment and advance good corporate governance. These are the universal principles promoted by the United Nations Global Compact, and enshrined in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)”, said the Secretary-General.
 
“We are extremely pleased that the Global Compact, under the guidance and in collaboration with the African Union Commission, could support African business leaders to articulate their priorities to policy-makers”, said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact.

Click here to download the final outcome declaration.

Click here for more information about the 2008 African Private Sector Forum.

Click here to download the remarks by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Click here to download the agenda for the 10th African Union Summit.

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For more information contact

Kola Badejo
Senior Advisor
UN Global Compact
badejo@un.org
+1-917-367-9112

Or

Cecilie Hultmann
Communications Manager
UN Global Compact
Hultmann@un.org
+1-917-367-5767