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The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 22nd September 2022

Senegal's Sall warns on failing internationalism at UN summit

Blue Lines

African Union chairman and Senegal's President Macky Sall launched the most powerful critique at the UN General Assembly on 20 September on his continent's marginalisation in the international system. Africa 'does not want to be the breeding ground of a new Cold War,' said Sall, alluding to the pressure from the west and Russia to pick a side as the war in Ukraine rages on.

Sall also sounded alarms about the way in which it has dominated the international agenda to the exclusion of almost all other topics, many of them of critical concern to Africa such as climate-induced agricultural failures, migration and security crises, as well as conflicts in the Horn of Africa, Congo-Kinshasa and the Sahel. For all of those, the Ukraine war has diverted attention and resources from peacekeeping and disaster relief efforts.

It was time, said Sall, to re-energise multilateralism and reform international institutions, 'to deconstruct the narratives that persist in confining Africa to the margins of decision-making circles'. A key test of that will be the extent to which African states win agreement for their proposals at the UN COP27 climate summit in Sharm el Sheikh in November. With research showing that most developing economies are off-track in achieving all but two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, climate change and conflict were identified as two of the greatest threats.