U.N. official talks about ‘cautious optimism’ of Arab world development

Amina J. Mohammed said she had “cautious optimism” regarding development in the Arab world

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A U.N. official said she had “cautious optimism” regarding development in the Arab world, and efforts must be made in spite of violence and conflicts shaking the region, the body’s development advisor Al Arabiya News Channel in an interview aired Friday.

“There is cautious optimism. When you are faced by so many dilemmas, and they don’t get better, they in fact get worse over the period of this negotiating time, there is good reason to feel concerned about it,” Amina J. Mohammed, U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning told Al Arabiya News Channel’s New York correspondent Talal al-Haj.

Mohammed, who said she had had “lots of consultations with the Arab region,” added that “we must begin to show in real terms how we can address the development agenda in the Arab world in spite of the conflicts and challenges.”

She said issues such as ending hunger should not wait until conflicts are over, but these dilemmas must be tackled in “parallel.”

Mohammed, who previously worked as a senior special assistant to the president of Nigeria on its Millennium Development Goals set by the U.N., gave the example of her country – Nigeria – where the western African nation achieved “zero hunger” in spite of national security threats coming from Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group.

“My country is in as much trouble as yours. In the northeast, we have Boko Haram, we have extreme poverty. We are dealing with big issues around gender, health, and education,” she said.

She explained that Nigeria managed to reach such targets because of its focus on investments in employment, health, and education.

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