MIL-OSI Translation: Africa’s ‘triple crisis’ aggravated by war in Ukraine, says Guterres on visit to Senegal

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MIL OSI Translation. Region: France and French Territories –

Source: United Nations – in French 2

Headline: Africa’s ‘triple crisis’ aggravated by war in Ukraine, says Guterres on visit to Senegal

The war in Ukraine is aggravating a “triple food, energy and financial crisis” across Africa, according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Speaking in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, West Africa, on his first visit to the continent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr. Guterres said that “when we talk about the socio -economic, it is impossible not to address the war in Ukraine and its impact on Africa”.

The UN chief made the remarks after meeting the country’s President, Macky Sall, who said the war in Ukraine was “a human tragedy” that can have “a dramatic impact on economies, especially those of developing countries “.

The conflict in Ukraine is driving up global food and fuel prices. Senior UN officials fear rising costs could push more people to the brink of starvation and lead to political instability and social unrest in parts of Africa, where food prices have risen by a third since last year.

Before the start of the war in February this year, the combination of climate change, conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic was already impacting the socio-economic situation in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region which includes the Senegal.

Vaccine Equity and Sovereignty

Previously, Mr. Guterres and President Sall had visited a new high-tech vaccine production site currently under construction by the Institut Pasteur in Dakar. When completed, it will be able to produce a range of vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech, one of the most widely used vaccines against Covid-19. It will also be able to manufacture experimental vaccines against malaria and tuberculosis.

UNICEF/Vincent Tremeau

A Senegalese man holds his Covid-19 vaccination card.

Speaking at the end of World Immunization Week, Mr Guterres said there was a need to “build true equity in vaccines across the world” and that it was “unacceptable” that nearly 80% of Africans are not vaccinated against Covid-19, a situation he described as “moral failure”.

President Macky Sall called for pharmaceutical sovereignty by supporting the emergence of an African pharmaceutical industry capable of meeting basic needs and coping with pandemics.

As part of the Covid-19 recovery plan, Senegal is strengthening its pharmaceutical sector. The vaccine production site should produce at least 50% of the country’s vaccine needs.

UN Photo News/Daniel Dickinson

The vaccine production site in Dakar, Senegal, will manufacture vaccines against Covid-19 and other diseases.

Mr. Guterres added that “the world’s wealthiest countries and pharmaceutical companies should accelerate vaccine donation and invest in local production”, of the type seen at the Institut Pasteur.

Response to the global crisis

The increased investment is part of a global strategy to support developing countries facing what the UN has called “cascading crises”. In March 2022, the UN chief created the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) set up in response to the crisis caused by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. According to him, the invasion has produced alarming effects on a world economy already battered by Covid-19 and climate change.

©WFP/Evelyn Fey

In Senegal, efforts are being made to rehabilitate soils and collect rainwater.

President Macky Sall is one of six prominent world leaders who have been named Champions of the group and who support the Secretary-General’s call for immediate action to prevent, mitigate and respond to the crisis. He is also the Chairman of the African Union for 2022.

The GCRG calls on countries to find creative ways to finance the world’s growing humanitarian and development needs and to donate generously and immediately the funds they have already pledged.

Food, energy and finance

Speaking to the media in Dakar, Mr Guterres said there was a need to “ensure a steady flow of food and energy in open markets, lifting all unnecessary export restrictions”. “Countries must resist the temptation to hoard and instead release strategic stocks and additional reserves for countries that need them,” he added.

The UN estimates that a quarter of a billion people could be pushed into extreme poverty this year, due to the consequences of the conflict in Ukraine. International financial institutions have a key role to play and “must urgently provide debt relief by increasing liquidity and fiscal space”, the UN chief said, “so that governments can avoid the default and invest in social safety nets and sustainable development for their people”.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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