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UNAIDS, NEPAD sign pact on Africa’s AIDS response, development agenda

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The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) calling for strategic collaboration to advance sustainable responses to HIV, health and development across the African continent.

The MoU was signed by UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé and Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD Agency, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, on the sidelines of a colloquium marking the 10th anniversary of NEPAD in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

A joint statement issued March 27, 2012 said “Under the terms of the agreement, UNAIDS and the NEPAD Agency will work with partners to: support the development of common African positions for the AIDS response, with an emphasis on sustainable financing; address constraints in access to HIV medicines; facilitate policies and partnerships to eliminate new HIV infections in children and improve the health of mothers; enhance country ownership and accountability; and encourage South-South cooperation.”

“This new partnership will bring us one step closer to our goal of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths,” said Mr Sidibé.

Adding his comment, the Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD Agency said “Partnerships for development can only succeed if they are led by developing countries.”

Statistics show sub-Saharan Africa carries the highest HIV burden of any region in the world. In 2010, about 68% of all people living with HIV resided in sub-Saharan Africa, a region with only 12% of the global population.

About two-thirds of all AIDS investments in Africa currently come from external sources. According to UNAIDS estimates, Africa will require between $11-12 billion for its regional AIDS response by 2015—$3-4 billion more than the current expenditure.

By Ekow Quandzie

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