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Cape Town - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said he “felt sorry for God” as he celebrated his 82nd birthday on Monday.
Tutu made brief reference to the strife in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo as he introduced former UN secretary general Kofi Annan - who delivered the 3rd annual Desmond Tutu International Peace lecture at the University of the Western Cape.
“Can you imagine what it must be like for God... looking down saying those are my children in Syria, those using chemical weapons are my children, those dying are my children,” Tutu said.
Annan praised Tutu's contribution to world peace.
“Desmond has always found the courage, no matter how uncomfortable or dangerous, to speak truth to power,” he said.
Annan later warned serious challenges remained and that new threats were emerging in Africa, despite progress on the economic front.
Sub-Saharan Africa was the world's “most recent economic success story” and achieved successes in health care, education and gender parity.
“But real and exciting as this progress has been, we cannot afford to become complacent, “Annan said.
Annan warned the growth experienced in Africa had not yet resulted in the eradication of high rates of poverty and unemployment.
“Despite Africa's extraordinary wealth of natural resources, poor governance and lack of transparency have too often led to corruption, exploitation and environmental damage,” Annan said.