On trip to 3 West African nations, UN chief urges investment across continent
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on rich countries to increase their investments in African nations as he began his three-nation tour of West Africa.
Guterres was speaking Sunday in Senegal before sharing an Iftar dinner — the meal breaking the Ramadan fast — with President Macky Sall, who became president of the African Union earlier this year.
The U.N. secretary-general is to travel to Niger Monday where he plans to join Muslims marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan and onward to Nigeria on Tuesday to highlight the violence of terrorist groups.
On 14 March, Guterres announced the establishment of a Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG) to coordinate the global response to the widespread impacts of the war in Ukraine.
Senegal's president is co-chairing that group, Guterres said.
Sall, for his part, deplored the “dramatic impact of the Ukraine war on the economies of developing countries.”
Guterres also called for reform in the global financial system, calling it “morally bankrupt,” and saying that every available mechanism needs to be used to benefit developing and middle-income countries, especially in Africa.
While in Senegal, Guterres visited Diamnadio, a planned city being built about 30 kilometers (18 miles) southeast of the capital where he viewed the construction of an office building that will be a part of a new U.N. complex there.
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.
He urged better action on climate change, saying that African nations suffer the most while contributing the least to the problem.
Ahead of his trip to Niger in the Sahel, the vase semi-arid area south of the Sahara Desert, he and Sall called on military juntas in power in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso to speed up their transitions to democracy.
“We agreed on the importance of continuing the dialogue with the de facto authorities of the three countries in order to establish the return to constitutional order as soon as possible,” Guterres said.
The Sahel region has been shaken by the recent coups in Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea. Military coups in African countries, which have increased significantly in recent years, are the most important legacy of the Western colonial powers.
In their grab for influence and resources, colonial powers drew artificial borders across the Middle East and Africa, often arbitrarily splitting traditional tribal territories into new states.
These Western imperialists turned African countries into hotbeds of conflict and war, exposing them to violent changes of power to the point that the number of coups exceeded 200 since the late 1950s.