UN's Ban Urges Greater Investment in Africa's Great Lakes Region

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for greater economic development in Central Africa to rehabilitate parts of a region that have been roiled by periodic armed conflict.

“We are in the heart of Africa,” Ban said Wednesday at the opening ceremony of a UN-sponsored investment conference in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa. “This region can be an engine for development and economic growth on the continent, building on the progress that has been made over the years.”

The two-day event organized by the UN and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region seeks to showcase investment opportunities and drive economic development in the group’s 12 member states, which also include Angola, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Congo’s president, Joseph Kabila, told delegates that the region needs to work toward the free movement of people, goods and capital to reduce poverty and build stability. His country is Africa’s biggest copper producer and in 2014 was the source of half the world’s cobalt, a mineral used in rechargeable batteries.

Ban visited neighboring Burundi earlier this week and will travel to South Sudan on Thursday.

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