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Monday, December 05, 2022

On visit to 3 West African countries, UN chief urges investment

DAKAR, Senegal ( Associated Press) — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on wealthy nations to increase their investments in African countries to begin his three-nation tour of West Africa as the continent recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and affected It happens because of the war in Ukraine.

“This war is escalating a triple crisis: food, energy and financial, for the region and beyond,” Guterres said.

He added that “Africa’s food security problems will not be solved without reintroducing Ukraine’s agricultural production and Russia and Belarus’ food and fertilizer production to world markets.” He said he was determined to do “everything to facilitate a dialogue that could help achieve this objective.”

Guterres was speaking in Senegal on Sunday before sharing an iftar dinner – the meal that breaks the fast of Ramadan – with President Mackie Sal, who became president of the African Union earlier this year.

The UN secretary-general is scheduled to travel to Niger on Monday, where he plans to join Muslims at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and travel to Nigeria on Tuesday to highlight the violence of Islamic extremism.

Guterres said he was concerned about how the war in Ukraine was affecting the African continent. He said Guterres created a global food, energy and finance crisis response group to mobilize UN agencies, development banks and other international organizations to tackle these issues. Senegal’s president is co-chairing that group, Guterres said.

For his part, Sall denounced “the dramatic effect of war on the economies of developing countries”.

Guterres called for reform of the global financial system, calling it “morally bankrupt”, and said that every available mechanism should be used to the advantage of developing and middle-income countries, particularly in Africa.

While in Senegal, Guterres visited Diamandio, a planned city being built about 30 kilometers (18 mi) southeast of the capital, where he witnessed the construction of an office building that would house a new United Nations campus there. will be a part. He also went to a vaccine manufacturing facility that will soon produce COVID-19 shots, where he called for vaccine equity to help Africa recover from the pandemic.

“It is unacceptable that even today about 80% of the African population is not vaccinated,” he called on wealthy countries and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate dose donation and invest in local vaccine production.

He called for better action on climate change, saying African nations are suffering the most while contributing the least to the problem.

Ahead of their visit to Niger in the Sahel, the vase semi-arid region south of the Sahara Desert, he and Sail called on military junctions in power in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso to accelerate their transition to democracy.

“We agreed on the importance of continuing dialogue with the de facto authorities of the three countries to establish a return to the constitutional order as soon as possible,” Guterres said.

The Sahel region has been shaken by recent coups in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea. The three countries have been suspended by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States, which has urged the junta to return the countries to democratic rule as soon as possible. On Saturday, the head of Guinea’s junta announced a 39-month transition, which does not take into account the months that have already passed. The head of Mali’s junta, Asimi Gosta, has proposed a 24-month transition, while the military in Burkina Faso wants 36 months. These periods are considered by ECOWAS and others in the international community to be too long.

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