President Jacob Zuma has used his address at the United Nations General Assembly to reiterate calls for the reforms of the UN, particularly the Security Council, in order to deal with the challenges of the 21st century.

"The UN Security Council (UNSC) is supposed to act in our collective interest without being bogged down by domestic narrow interests of few states," President Zuma told the plenary on Tuesday.

"South Africa has been calling for, and we will continue to call for, the fundamental reform of the United Nation's Security Council in order to ensure the representation of Africa. One billion people cannot continue to be denied a voice in this manner."

Zuma said the African continent remains committed through the African Union and its Peace and Security Architecture to resolve the remaining conflict areas.

"We have committed ourselves to silence the guns by 2020," he said, before appealing to the UNSC in particular to support African peace operations so that they can achieve this noble goal.

On the development of the continent, Zuma told the assembly that the continent has made strides in the past couple of decades in reversing the impact of underdevelopment and the legacies of colonialism and apartheid in Africa.

But for the African continent to develop faster, it needs to address certain constraints.

The constraints that need urgent attention are inadequate infrastructure, the high dependency on primary products, high exposure to commodity price volatility, limited investment in research and development, science, innovation and technology, low private sector investment, as well as the need to continue improving skills.

However, for the continent to fully implement its development plans - depends on the availability of resources.

As such, Zuma said the African leaders were seriously concerned about the loss of resources of the continent through illicit financial flows.

The Joint African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa's High-level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa estimates that illicit flows from Africa could be about 50 billion dollars per annum.

"Illicit financial flows deprive developing countries of the much-needed economic resources to uplift their economies in order to provide infrastructure and basic services such as education and health care," the President said, urging the world to treat this problem with the seriousness and urgency that it deserves.

He further underlined the need to close the gap between the rich and the poor which has divided countries between big and small economies, "Inclusive growth has thus become a peace, security and prosperity imperative," he added.

Meanwhile, BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs held their regular meeting on the margins of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Ministers discussed the current state of the global economy, and recognized that global economic recovery continues to be weak and uneven.

They reiterated the need to boost world economic growth, macroeconomic policy coordination, improving global economic governance, promoting international trade and investment, addressing income inequality and achieving sustainable development.

They called for collective action in this regard.

In a communique issued after the meeting, the ministers also emphasised the need for concerted action in addressing global health challenges.

In particular, they recalled the importance of a common and inclusive approach to the development of medicines, research and diagnostic tools to end epidemics and to facilitate the access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines.


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