Joint press conference by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission – World

by MMC
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(Introductory remarks by the Secretary-General follow; full transcript will be published shortly)

SG: I would first like to express my deep gratitude to my dear friend, Moussa Faki Mahamat, for the excellent meeting that we have just completed.

The partnership between the African Union and the United Nations is an essential partnership for the United Nations. This is our most important strategic partnership, as Africa remains one of the UN’s top priorities. This priority is based on the clear perception that we must work with the African Union, based on the principle of African-led solutions to African problems in all dimensions – peace and security, development, climate – and I am also extremely happy the fact that we have today completed our cooperation frameworks, with our Human Rights Framework.

Today, Africa is the double victim of injustice. First of all, the historical injustice linked to colonialism and slavery; and secondly, the current injustice in relation to the way in which power relations are established in the world, and in particular in relation to financial and economic power.

Before COVID, the African continent was catching up. The African continent has experienced the highest growth rates in the world. But with COVID, we witnessed the injustice of vaccine distribution, and then we saw that developed countries had the ability to print money to support their economies and populations in the recovery, and that African countries have had to increase their debt to do exactly the same thing.

Furthermore, the consequences of the war in Ukraine have been an increase in food prices – Africa is a large importer of food and energy – and now, with global inflation and rising rates of interest, countries that have a large debt find themselves completely trapped by this – trapped in the sense that they are not able to fully meet the financing needs of this debt. And today we saw the very bad news from Zambia, which demonstrates once again how inadequate the framework established by the G20 for global debt relief is.

But on top of that, countries do not have fiscal space to meet the basic needs of their population, and especially their young population, because in Africa, youth make up the majority of the population. And that inevitably leads to enormous frustration, and that kind of frustration is the seed of instability, the seed of conflict, the seed of coups and a number of other recent developments that have undermined peace. and security on the African continent.

It is very important to provide a dual response to these peace and security problems.

First, recognize that peacekeeping missions make no sense where there is no peace to keep, and that we need peacekeeping and anti-war operations. terrorism in Africa, led by the African Union and with the full mandate of the Security Council under Chapter VII. and statutory contributions to finance these missions. This is the only way to effectively combat the type of violence and terrorism that is currently proliferating in many African countries.

Second, we must mobilize the international community to address the root economic and social causes of the conflict.

This is why we are so keen to reform international financial institutions, to ensure that they reflect today’s economy, not the post-World War II economy, and that developing countries play a role increased role in power. system linked to decisions made in economics and finance.

This is why we insisted on the need to change the economic model of multilateral development banks, on effective debt relief, on the revival of the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) as a key instrument to enable African countries to find budgetary space. necessary to meet the basic needs of their population, which will of course also have the consequence of improving their capacity to guarantee stability, to guarantee democracy and to guarantee peace.

The African Union can count on the very strong commitment of the United Nations, fighting for the absolutely necessary reforms, not for the expression of simple solidarity but for the expression of justice. What Africa needs above all is justice in international relations, because Africa has been a victim of structural injustices in our international relations.

At the same time, I would like to say that we are fully committed to working with the African Union in all areas of our joint activity, and we intend to do everything to ensure that on the ground, at the country level, our officers will work closely collaboration with African Union officers to ensure that the full common understanding we have of African and global issues will also translate into effective cooperation at the national and sub-regional level on the continent.

I believe that this meeting showed that we have a complete identity of points of view and this meeting will strengthen our cooperation and make it even more effective with a very strong mutual commitment to the people of the African continent.

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