The “triple crisis” in Africa is exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, Guterres said during a visit to Senegal

Speaking in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, West Africa, during his first visit to the continent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Guterres said that “when we talk about the socio-economic situation, it is impossible not to address the war in Ukraine and its impact on Africa. ».

The head of the UN made this statement after meeting with President Mackie Sall, who said that the war in Ukraine is a “human tragedy” that could have a “dramatic impact on the economies, especially developing countries.”

The conflict in Ukraine leads to rising world prices for food and fuel. Senior UN officials fear that rising spending could put more people on the brink of starvation and lead to political instability and social unrest in parts of Africa, where food prices have risen by a third since last year.

Prior to the war in February this year, the combination of climate change, conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic had already affected the socio-economic situation in Africa, particularly in the Sahel region, which includes Senegal.

Vaccine justice and sovereignty

Earlier, Mr Guterres and President Sall visited a new high-tech vaccine plant currently under construction at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar. Upon completion, it will be able to produce a number of vaccines, including Pfizer-BioNTech, one of the most widely used vaccines against Covid-19. He will also be able to make experimental vaccines against malaria and tuberculosis.


A man from Senegal holds a vaccination card from Covid-19.

UNICEF / Vincent Tremo

A man from Senegal holds a vaccination card from Covid-19.

Speaking at the end of World Immunization Week, Mr Guterres said there was a need to “build real justice in vaccines around the world” and that it was “unacceptable” that almost 80% of Africans were not vaccinated against Covid-19. he called it a “moral failure.”

President Mackey Sall has called for pharmaceutical sovereignty, supporting the emergence of an African pharmaceutical industry capable of meeting basic needs and tackling the pandemic.

Under the Covid-19 recovery plan, Senegal is strengthening its pharmaceutical sector. Vaccine production must meet at least 50% of the country’s vaccine needs.


Vaccines against Covid-19 and other diseases will be produced at a vaccine plant in Dakar, Senegal.

Photo news UN / Daniel Dickinson

Vaccines against Covid-19 and other diseases will be produced at a vaccine plant in Dakar, Senegal.

Mr Guterres added that “the world’s richest countries and pharmaceutical companies need to speed up vaccine donations and invest in local production”, as observed at the Pasteur Institute.

The answer to the global crisis

Increasing investment is part of a global strategy to support developing countries facing what the UN has called “cascading crises.” In March 2022, the head of the UN established the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance (GCRG), created in response to the crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He said the invasion had alarming consequences for the global economy, which has already been hit by Covid-19 and climate change.


Efforts are being made in Senegal to restore soils and collect rainwater.

© WFP / Evelyn Faye

Efforts are being made in Senegal to restore soils and collect rainwater.

MeadowSupporter Mackie Sall is one of six prominent world leaders who have been named Group Champions and who support the Secretary-General’s call for immediate action to prevent, mitigate and respond to the crisis. He is also the President of the African Union for 2022.

The GCRG encourages countries to find creative ways to fund the world’s growing humanitarian and development needs and to generously and immediately donate the funds they have already pledged.

Food, energy and finance

Speaking to the media in Dakar, Mr Guterres said it was necessary to “ensure a constant flow of food and energy in open markets, removing all unnecessary export restrictions”. “Countries must resist the temptation to accumulate and instead release strategic reserves and additional reserves for countries that need them,” he added.

According to UN estimates, a quarter of a billion people could end up in extreme poverty this year as a result of the conflict in Ukraine. International financial institutions play a key role and “urgently need to ease debt by increasing liquidity and fiscal space,” he said, “so that governments can avoid default and invest in social protection networks and sustainable development for their people.” .