International conference begins in Cameroon

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International conference begins in Cameroon

17 May 2010

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UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibé attended a high-level international conference, Africa 21 in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The African continent is experiencing major changes as 17 African countries prepare to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their independence in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Two days before the anniversary celebrations, a high-level international conference, Africa 21 began on Tuesday in Yaoundé. The conference is called “Africa, a chance for the world: realities and challenges,” and brings together top politicians, economists, international civil servants and business leaders, including former United Nations Secretaries of State, Kofi Annan and Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Much of the debate will focus on macro-economic issues.

Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé will participate in the conference’s plenary session on security issues on Wednesday.

As an African I am proud to take part in events marking the rebirth of this continent. There is so much potential and promise here.

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

“As an African I am proud to take part in events marking the rebirth of this continent,” said Mr Sidibé. “There is so much potential and promise here,”

Mr Sidibé began his three-day working trip to Cameroon on Monday. Aside from attending “Africa 21,” he will meet with the President of Cameroon, Paul Biya. He will also make a joint field visit with Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Abdoulie Janneh. They will visit an urban renewal project in Yaoundé, which is financed by the African Development Bank, the International Labour Organization and the government of Cameroon.

Mr. Sidibé will also visit Yaoundè’s central hospital, which has a major HIV treatment centre and meet with people living with HIV. He will tour the International Research Centre, Chantal Biya, which aims to develop research into vaccines and treatment into major diseases challenging Africa, particularly HIV, tuberculosis and malaria. One of the highlights of Mr. Sidibé’s visit is his meeting with leaders of civil society and people living with HIV.

Cameroon has a generalised HIV epidemic with a prevalence of 5.5% in adults aged 15-49 years old. Cameroon has led the way in decentralizing its AIDS response. Now almost all health districts are equipped to manage mother-to-child HIV transmission. Around 46% of people with an advanced stage of HIV infection were receiving antiretroviral therapy in 2009 compared to 39% in 2008.