As Africans came together in unity to celebrate Africa Day today on May 25, we reflect on the progress we have made and the challenges that remain as we work toward achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). With only five years left until the 2015 deadline, dedicated resources and strong leadership from African nations are more important than ever. Over the past decade we have made great progress, but more needs to be done, especially in the area of health.
In 2001, Africa's heads of state signed the Abuja Declaration and committed to the eventual creation of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, a public/private partnership and the largest multilateral financing institution in the fight against major causes of illness and mortality on our continent. Since then, The Global Fund has fostered stronger health systems in Africa, saved the lives of millions of women and children across the continent, strengthened economies of African countries through healthier workforces, and fostered partnerships between the public and private sectors.
2010 is a critical year as we strive to reach the MDG milestones for reducing childhood mortality, improving the lives of women and girls, and fighting infectious diseases. This year is also important for donor nations to pledge new resources to support Global Fund projects around the world.
The African Union Summit this July is a valuable opportunity to demonstrate African countries commitment to the Millennium Development Goals, especially in the health sector. We hope that the rest of the world will express similar commitment, and continue to pledge its increasing support to The Global Fund to help in achieving these goals. Investing in The Global Fund is an investment towards improving the lives of millions, and strengthening Africa now and in the future.
The authors are Co-Chairs of the Africa Day Commemoration in Washington, D.C.