UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed strong support for Africa, saying the United Nations is ready to work with the African Union to bolster cooperation.
“Africa has been the double victim of injustice. First of all, historic injustice linked to colonialism and to slavery. And second, the present injustice in relation to the way power relations are established in the world and namely in relation to financial and economic power,” Guterres said on Tuesday at a news conference with Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairperson of the African Union Commission.
Mahamat was in New York to attend the 7th AU/UN High-Level Conference to evaluate progress on the implementation of existing cooperation framework agreements. He and Guterres also signed a new joint framework agreement on human rights.
Guterres said the partnership between the African Union and the UN is “essential” and Africa remains “one of the key priorities” for the UN.
“What Africa needs above all is justice in international relations because Africa has been the victim of the structural injustices of our international relations.
“At the same time, I would like to say that we are totally committed to work with the African Union in all areas of our common activity,” he added.
‘Haven for terrorism’
Mahamat said that Africa is going through a difficult period in terms of peace and security. “Unfortunately, it has become a haven for terrorism and extremism. Many of our regions are affected by these phenomena,” he added.
Africa is facing economic challenges due to the Covid-19 crisis, climate crisis, and the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.
Turning to last year’s Black Sea grain deal brokered by Türkiye and the UN to resume grain exports from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports that were paused after the Ukraine war, Mahamat said that what is happening in Ukraine is having a direct impact all over the world, particularly on the African continent.
Increases in the prices of energy, food products and fertilizers negatively affected the productivity of African agriculture, he said.
“That’s why we welcomed the Secretary-General’s efforts together with Türkiye to reach this grain agreement,” he stressed.
“The deal has played a key role in addressing the global food crisis. Türkiye always stresses that it is ready to do what is necessary to send grain to poor African countries.”