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Leaders call for UN support on Africa's development

afrol News, 25 September - Senegal has called for United Nations support for the “Great Green Wall” project in which African countries have agreed to plant trees in a band across the breadth of the continent to try to lessen the effects of desertification.

President Abdoulaye Wade told the General Assembly’s annual high-level debate yesterday that he wishes the UN will endorse the project, “which contributes to the protection of the environment,” help in the battle against climate change and would mobilise thousands of people.

The Great Green Wall will stretch about 7,000 kilometres from Dakar, the Senegalese capital, to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, and will be about 15 kilometres wide as it traverses the continent.

Senegal has responsibility for coordinating the project, and Mr Wade said that his country has already planted about 525 kilometres of trees, with Mali and Chad to begin work on their sections soon.

“With the help of experts from around the world, we could select plants adapted to the relatively arid climatic conditions of the Sahelo-Saharan zone,” he said. “At the same time, we have decided to develop rainwater ponds along the course of this wall.”

Mr Wade stressed that Africa must play its part in wider global efforts to renew and protect the environment, saying the wall project is part of those efforts.

He also said the wall project could lead to the mobilisation of many young Africans in the service of a cause that boosts the environment and peace.

Meanwhile, the President of Gambia also called on the UN to step in and save Africa from the exploitation and discrimination it has suffered at the hands of the developed world, or the continent will take its own action.

“The UN must come to the rescue of Africa otherwise we Africans stand ready to liberate ourselves from this eternal bondage at any cost,” said President Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh at the second day of the 64th annual General Assembly debate.

“We the Africans have been suffering for too long at the hands of the Westerners and we will put an end to this,” Mr Jammeh told the Assembly, which has gathered at UN Headquarters in New York for its high-level debate.

The President of the small West African country said that powerful multi-national corporations - which he described as “locusts” - have exploited the continent’s natural resources for centuries, keeping at least 95 percent of the profits for themselves.

Mr Jammeh noted that only four African countries receive more than 3 percent of the profits from the mining of their mineral resources, with the rest making even less from the companies.

In addition, he said that the excruciating debt burdening African nations, which very few rich countries have cancelled, consumes 80 percent of the 3 to 5 percent profit left to them by the multi-nationals.

“As from now the AU [African Union] would work towards ensuring that African nations and our farmers get their rightful share of our God-given natural and agricultural resources,” he said.

Stressing that it is “African sweat, blood, tears and natural resources that have built the North throughout almost five centuries of merciless and racist exploitation until today,” he said that we “will no longer accept less than 65 per cent royalty for our natural resources. Enough is enough.”

The President said that “by any means necessary” the new generation of African leaders would put an end to the degrading names they are called, such as “dictators, corrupt leaders, failed States and even rogue States.

“The world will not live in peace and security as long as this dehumanising and racist status quo continues to prevail with regards to the continent of Africa and Africans,” he stated.

“We have been forced to endure this for far too long and now we are going to put an end to it as we have ended apartheid in South Africa; by force if need be. We will defend our humanity, our dignity, our resources, our interests and our culture as from now.”

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