The Russia-Ukraine conflict is aggravating a food, energy and financial crisis across Africa, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Sunday during a visit to Senegal.
Speaking at a press conference after meeting Senegalese President Macky Sall in Dakar, Guterres, who is making his first visit to the African continent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, said the current situation in Ukraine is likely to create what he called a “triple crisis” of problems for Africa.
“When we talk about the socio-economic situation, it is impossible not to address the war in Ukraine and its impact on Africa. This war aggravates a triple crisis: food, energy, and financial, for the region and beyond. That’s why I have created the Global Crisis Response Group on food, energy and finance, which mobilizes the United Nations, UN agencies, development banks and other International organizations,” he said.
Gutteres called for efforts to ensure a steady flow of food and energy to Africa through open markets, the removal of all unnecessary export restrictions on exports, and the allocation of surpluses and reserves to those who need them, while controlling food prices to calm market volatility.
However, the UN chief warned that there could be no real solution to global food security problems without reintegrating Ukraine’s agricultural production of Ukraine and food and fertilizer production from Russia and Belarus into global supply chains.
Before the Ukraine conflict began in late February, a combination of factors, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, were already worsening the socio-economic situation in Africa, especially in the Sahel region which includes Senegal.
Guterres repeated his call for urgent reforms of a “morally bankrupt” global financial system which is skewed in favor of rich nations at the expense of the developing world.
“I have said several times that we need a reform of a global financial system that is morally bankrupt. It was designed by the rich, for the rich. As a matter of urgency, greater use must be made of all the mechanisms available in the benefit of developing countries, including medium-income countries, especially in Africa,” said Guterres.