Conflict in Ukraine aggravates triple crisis in Africa, says UN chief

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks to The Associated Press, in Lahore, Pakistan, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Guterres said Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak that began in China "is not out of control but it is a very dangerous situation." Antonio Guterres said that "the risks are enormous and we need to be prepared worldwide for that." The outbreak has infected more than 73,000 people globally. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudhry)

Dakar – The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has aggravated the food, energy and finance crisis in Africa,UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said here on Sunday evening.

During a joint press conference with Senegalese President Macky Sall, Guterres said he had set up a Global Response Group to help mobilise UN agencies, development banks and other international organisations to mitigate the effects of the crisis, particularly in Africa.

Guterres called for lifting all unnecessary export restrictions to establish “a steady flow of food and energy” in open markets, and to control food prices.

There will be no real solution to the problems of food security without reintegrating the agricultural production of Ukraine, as well as the food and fertilizer production of Russia and Belarus in world markets, he said.

Regarding energy crisis, the UN chief urged all countries to release strategic stocks and additional reserves for countries in need by accelerating the promotion of renewable energies.

International financial institutions should urgently put in place debt relief mechanisms to increase liquidity and fiscal space for developing countries, he said.

Guterres arrived in Dakar on Saturday night. He also will visit Niger and Nigeria.

Meanwhile, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Sunday a 12% hike in the minimum wage as the country confronts a surge in the cost of living.

Inflation in the East African economic powerhouse jumped to a seven-month high in April, mainly as a result of rocketing fuel and food prices, according to official figures