Speaking at the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa, hosted by the French Government in Paris, Ban noted that considerable progress has been made in recent years on the continent.
"In many African countries, the economy is boosted, democracy has developed, civil society mobilized and stability and peace gained ground. Africans have turned a new page in their history."
However, while recognizing the achievements and advances, "we must also act with resolve on Africa's challenges," he stated, adding that transnational organized crime, piracy, drug-trafficking and terrorism are taking a growing toll, exploiting weaknesses in institutions, borders and the rule of law.
The persistence of regional conflicts is another cause of great concern, said Ban. "Mali has made important electoral progress, but the threat of extremism is very much alive and there is an urgent need for an inclusive dialogue that addresses the root causes of the conflict."
Meanwhile, Somalia has re-established State institutions and adopted a Provisional Federal Constitution, but security progress has stalled and the situation is "fragile," he noted.
"I especially want to launch a call to action in the Central African Republic, before Saturday's summit on this urgent issue," the Secretary-General told world leaders. "The violence of recent days reminds us once again that we must act immediately."
In this regard, he called the Security Council resolution adopted Thursday, authorizing an African-led and French-backed peacekeeping force to quell the violence in CAR, an important step, adding that the deployment of additional French forces will be essential.
Ban began his remarks by noting that the summit takes place as the world mourns the loss of Nelson Mandela, "one of the towering figures of our time."
"He touched our lives deeply and taught us what is possible in Africa and across the world."
On the margins of the summit, the Secretary-General also held bilateral meetings with a number of African leaders, including the Presidents of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan and Burundi, and the Prime Minister of Libya.
--IBNS (Posted on 07-12-2013)