You might suppose that from my vantage point, as Chairman of the African Union and President of Tanzania, I would feel daunted or pessimistic about the numerous challenges facing the African continent. Without in any way neglecting many grim realities in my part of the world, I want to say clearly that Africa is not a basket case, and above all not a cause for despair. In fact, it is just the opposite. We in Africa view the coming years with great hope and excitement. Investments in Africa's sustainable development will pay off in a dynamic continent eager to leave poverty in the past and make the future about double-digit economic growth.
President's Malaria Initiative, and to pledge to do more. Malaria control is working, and thereby illustrates the important principle that practical and powerful technologies (in this case medicines and insecticide-treated bed nets), when brought to bear for the poor, can produce wondrous results. Similarly, it's no surprise that measles deaths have recently dropped by 90 percent in Africa, thanks to the efforts of UNICEF and African countries to ensure that the measles vaccine reaches everybody, including the poorest of the poor.
That there are solutions to even the toughest problems. Ethiopia, where the headquarters of the African Union resides, has just enjoyed its fourth straight year of economic growth above 10 percent. Cell phones now reach more than 250 million subscribers in Africa. AIDS treatment is expanding rapidly, though still only one in four of the estimated number of people who need antiretroviral therapy are receiving it. Though conditions remain stark for hundreds of millions, success is afoot, and we are quickly turning the corner.
Our goal must be to get to real solutions as fast as possible in combating disease, famines, and meeting the huge unmet needs for basic social and economic services such as water, roads and electricity before deep frustrations get ahead of us. And the African Union must do whatever it can to promote the democratic high road. The open and peaceful democratic process in my country, Tanzania, is serving us very well, and in a widening arc across Africa.
For eight years now, since the launch of the Millennium Development Goals by world leaders in 2000, Africans have been promised the partnership and financial backing of the rich world to put extreme poverty to an end. We've made our plans and we've had our share of successes. But the promised partnerships have yet to reach full fruition. The good news is that goodwill towards Africa is definitely expanding, as is the international business interest, and we are seeing increased opportunities for partnerships, with countries like China, India, and Korea.
As has been true throughout our history, Africa is still buffeted adversely by outside forces beyond our control, this time climate change and even the spillover of violence and terrorism from the Middle East. We watch with sadness and dismay as the glacier atop Mt. Kilimanjaro relentlessly diminishes under the forcing hand of global warming. We suffer increased waves of droughts and floods. Yet we, I can assure you, will not shirk from our global responsibilities, whether in global security or environmental stewardship.
We are ready, for example, to build our energy systems largely with solar, geothermal, wind, and hydro power. We would surely prefer not to exacerbate the global climate crisis caused overwhelmingly by the rich world. But we do, at the same time, feel that fair is fair. We've been promised help to meet our basic needs, adjust to climate change already underway, and adopt sustainable technologies for our development. Yet we are still waiting for that help, with the firm expectation that our partners will sooner rather than later fulfill their side of the compact. You may remember that in 2005 the G8 promised to double aid to Africa to $50 billion by 2010. Yet development assistance other than debt cancellation has remained stagnant ever since, leaving us still counting on the international community follow through on its word.
We in Tanzania are profoundly aware that nature is our greatest asset. As the proud home of the Serengeti, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the great African savanna which is the birthplace of humanity itself, we know that this natural heritage is precious, irreplaceable, and key to our wellbeing and very survival. Our farmers need no reminding that they survive on the health of the soils, forests, and rivers. Yet societies with barely enough to eat have little wherewithal against poachers, illegal loggers, and the blind forces of global climate change.
The new Millennium is our global chance for peace and prosperity, and Africa's chance for a renaissance following the depredations and lost opportunities of the past. With a helping hand from abroad, the 53 countries of the African Union will surely do our part. Africa's path out of poverty rests in the promise of sustainable development. Success will be achieved just as soon as we all recognize our common fate on our small planet.