The United Nations Chief has slammed the inequity around COVID vaccine distribution globally and says he will use the upcoming UN General Assembly to ring the alarm bell.

In a broad-ranging interview with SABC News, a frustrated Antonio Guterres warned that the world was going in the wrong direction in a discussion that tackled the evolving situation in Afghanistan, Tigray, Ethiopia, and even the recent riots in South Africa.

Antonio Guterres wasted no time in eviscerating what he called the dramatic inequity around vaccines availability globally, with over five billion doses administered, only 2% have gone to Africa.

The UN Secretary General pointed to how the recovery from COVID, often financial, was exacerbating existing inequities, particularly around special drawing rights with the IMF that favours developed countries.

He petitioned the international community to provide for the Afghan people ahead of a humanitarian conference he’ll convene in Geneva next week but also addressed the political implications of a world now having to deal with the Taliban, known for its barbarism, especially against women and girls.

Efficacy of the new AU envoy

On Tigray, Guterres lamented the growing instability in Ethiopia once viewed as a pillar of peace in a region all too familiar with volatility and conflict as questions remain about the efficacy of the new AU envoy former Nigerian President Olusegon Obasanjo.

Asked about recent riots in South Africa, he affirmed that the country’s democratic institutions were up to the task and on the departure of his former Executive Director of UN Women Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The 76th Session of the General Assembly kicks off next week with the high level week commencing on September 20th, largely a virtual affair because of the pandemic.

Sherwin Bryce-Pease in conversation with António Guterres ahead of the UN General Assembly