United Nations Secretary-General Antonio visited Dakar, Senegal, this week as part of his first trip to the African continent since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The ongoing impacts of the pandemic, including its multiplier effect on public health, economics, conflict, climate action and political stability, have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the collective response to that conflict, a major theme of Guterres’ visit to West Africa.
During his three-nation tour to Senegal, Niger and Nigeria, which began last weekend and ended Wednesday, Guterres called on rich countries to increase their investment in African countries, at a time when the continent’s recovery from the pandemic has been upended by the rising cost of food, energy and other essential goods due to the war in Ukraine.
“This war is aggravating a triple crisis: food, energy and financial, for the region and well beyond,” Guterres said before an Iftar dinner Sunday with Senegalese President Macky Sall, who currently serves as the African Union’s rotating chairperson. Guterres added that Africa’s food security challenges will not be solved without “reintegrating the agricultural production of Ukraine and the food and fertilizer production of Russia and Belarus into world markets,” saying that he is “determined to do everything to facilitate a dialogue that can help achieve this objective.”