UNDP Chief hails progress in Mali

May 3, 2010

Helen Clark and the Executive Director of UNAIDS Michele Sidibe in Mali

On the first day of her three day visit to Mali, Helen Clark traveled to the legendary city of Timbuktu where she viewed the historic  mosques and toured the library that houses its medieval manuscripts.   

While there, she and the Executive Director of UNAIDS Michele Sidibe also met with a local NGO that supports people living with HIV/AIDS.

"I chose to visit Mali because we see lots of things going well," said Helen Clark. "We see areas where progress can be made. We think that in a country which has a commitment to democratic government, a country which has had a democratic transition, which is serious about tackling issues likes poverty and HIV/AIDS and education and health, that we can work together"

After speaking with local leaders and beneficaries of an HIV/AIDS project, she had encouraging words for Mali's approach to the epidemic.

"From what I have read, the strategies in Mali are among the most successful of any country on the continent," she said. "I am sure many are interested to learn from your experience."

Tomorrow, Miss Clark will meet with Malian Prime Minister Modibo Sidibe and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Moctar Ouane.  She will also visit a mango farm to meet with rural women about gaining access to export markets.

Mali is the first stop on a four country visit to Africa to highlight progress in the Millennium Development Goals. She will also visit Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and South Africa.

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