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Annan: Inequality, Self-Interested Leaders Pose Security Challenge In Africa

  • RFE/RL

MUNICH, Germany -- Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called on leaders in Africa to think less about themselves and more about their people.

Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat who preceded Ban Ki-moon as UN chief, spoke on the final day of the Munich Security Conference on February 14.

He lamented huge gaps between the rich and poor and the powerful and powerless in Africa, and said these inequalities present a security threat.

"If young people do not believe in the future, they may be tempted" to join militant groups or turn to crime, he said.

African countries including Somalia and Mali have been plagued by militant attacks. The continent has also been a major source of refugees and migrants heading to Europe.

Annan said that "the primary challenge of security in Africa is a challenge of leadership."

He said that some African leaders were "gaming elections" to preserve their power and showing more interest in protecting their "peers" than in caring for their people.