New York, 7 February 2022 (TDI): The UN Secretary-General stated on Saturday that Africa is a source of hope for the world, emphasizing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) as well as the Decade of Financial and Economic Inclusion for African Women.

Furthermore, Antonio Guterres stated that, for the past 20 years, the African Union (AU) has “helped to realize this hope, allowing the continent to realize its enormous potential.”

The UN Chief delivered a video message to the 35th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, which is taking place this weekend in Addis Ababa.
In Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Amina Mohamed, the Deputy Secretary-General, represents him.

AU-UN Collaboration

AU and UN collaboration is stronger than ever, Guterres says, with Agenda 2063 (Africa’s blueprint for a peaceful, integrated, and prosperous continent) as one of the key pillars.
The Secretary-General states that injustice is deeply rooted in global systems, but Africans pay the highest price for it.

In high-income countries, vaccination rates are seven times higher than in Africa, while the global financial system has abandoned the countries of the South. “The unethical inequalities on the continent fuel armed conflict, political, economic, ethnic, and social tensions, human rights abuses, violence against women, terrorism, violent coups, and impunity,” he stated.

Guterres explained that as a result, tens of millions of people are displaced throughout the continent and democratic institutions are threatened. The Secretary-General later offered the UN’s support in igniting “four engines of recovery.”


The Secretary-General stressed that everyone should receive a vaccine. South Africa and other African countries will benefit from increased vaccine production because of the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Force (AVATT).

Especially by addressing intellectual property issues and providing the technical and financial support necessary, he urged to create conditions for African countries to produce tests, vaccines, and treatments.

Financial Reform is Necessary

In addition, Guterres said that the global financial system must be reformed for the engine of economic recovery to fire. Africa, however, faces tremendous obstacles.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, the cumulative economic growth per capita over the next five years will be 75% less than in the rest of the world, he said.

The IMF needs to redistribute Special Drawing Rights (a currency established by the IMF) to countries in need now, reform the international debt architecture, and expand concessional financing.

African Economies are Experiencing Green Recovery,

African economies are experiencing a green recovery, according to the UN chief.
Despite contributing only 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the continent is experiencing the adverse effects of climate change.

“In order to address today’s tragic reality, we need to substantially increase the number of funds for adaptation and mitigation across the continent,” Guterres said. It is not enough for COP26 to implement the doubled adaptation finance commitment of $20 billion, he says.

Wealthy nations should fulfil their $100 billion climate finance commitment to developing countries, starting this year, and hold private-sector partners accountable. The UN Climate Conference (COP27) later this year in Egypt is an “essential opportunity for Africa and our world.”


And last but not least, the UN Chief said that peace can also be an engine for recovery on the continent. An organization like the African Union, Guterres believes, is about showing how people can co-exist, even thrive, by working together in multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural Africa.

As a result, he says, “inclusive and participatory structures” are needed, and the Member States need to make them a reality through good governance.

Especially for young Africans, Guterres said, who need better connectivity to acquire information and benefit from faster communication, improved education, and better employment opportunities.