Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete today urged the international community to boost support for East African countries to combat maritime piracy, telling the General Assembly that the problem, which has been centred in Somalia, has extended further south in the Indian Ocean.
Mr. Kikwete told the Assembly’s annual general debate that 13 ships had been attacked by pirates – including five that were hijacked – in Tanzania’s territorial waters since last year.
“If we don’t succeed in stopping these attacks they may disrupt shipping services and impact negatively our economy,” he said.
“We need the support of the international community to help build capacity to fight piracy,” the Tanzanian leader added. He welcomed the readiness by some States to strengthen the capacity of courts and prisons in the region to deal with captured pirates.
In his address Mr. Kikwete noted that democracy was taking root in Africa and that peace now prevailed in almost the entire continent, except in Somalia, which continues to need the support of the United Nations and the African Union to restore peace and stability.
“All that Africa needs most is continued support to build the institutions of democracy and governance as well as in building economies and overcoming some serious challenges,” he said.
Mr. Kikwete also drew the Assembly’s attention to the ongoing food crisis in the Horn of Africa and famine in Somalia, saying the problem had not abated.
The Tanzanian leader exhorted developed countries to raise their overseas development assistance (ODA) to 0.7 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP), stressing that if all aid donors were to make that commitment to poorer States, developing countries would achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the 2015 deadline.