Exemptions from financial sanctions against Moscow applied by European states to pursue energy trade with Moscow should also be implemented to allow African countries to continue to source fertilizers and wheat, according to the Senegalese head of state . “We are a collateral victim of this situation because of the weaknesses of our economies”, continued the Senegalese president, alongside his Nigerien counterpart Mohamed Bazoum and Tiémoko Meyliet Koné, who became vice-president of Côte d’Ivoire at the end of April. .
Extending Sall’s criticism of the continent’s international partners – notably Western ones – whose concessional loans are “insignificant” compared to irrigation financing needs, Bazoum recalled that Niger already had a program in place to promote the exploitation of its surfaces and groundwater resources. “The difficulty was to have the financial resources to invest”, explained the Nigerien president.
He pointed to another inconsistency with the continent’s external partners: this time on the climate front. Following the criticism shared at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, which was warmly applauded by African participants, the Nigerian Head of State insisted on the role of the climate crisis in the deterioration of the security situation. He said the pledge of $100 billion in annual aid pledged at COP21 in Paris to help countries in the global South tackle the climate crisis had never materialized.
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Then, the Nigerian president expressed his dismay at the bias against fossil fuels. “The banks were ready to grant loans to certain companies that wanted to exploit Niger’s coal and enable it to meet its energy needs. Today, there are no more banks willing to do this. We are punished. It is an injustice,” complained the Nigerien president.
His Senegalese counterpart echoed this. While the latter recalled that renewable energies now represent 31% of Senegal’s energy mix, Macky Sall declared: “It is inconceivable that those who have been exploiting oil, coal and fuel oil for more than a century are preventing African countries to develop their resources.
The Senegalese head of state, who is also the current chairman of the African Union (AU), has been particularly focused on security risks, which is not the problem, according to Bazoum.
“The fundamental question is the financing of the fight against terrorism,” noted Sall. “In Asia, in Libya, there are global coalitions to fight terrorism. In African theaters, few countries are involved. The financing of this fight is the responsibility of the United Nations Security Council, whose primary role is to ensure peace and security in the world,” said the Senegalese Head of State.
Also participating in the meeting, Makhtar Diop, Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation, also returned to the link between climate crises and conflicts. He insisted on the need for a “continental approach and a more structured and stronger integration of the private sector” in the fight against climate change “oriented towards adaptation, water management […] and urban and territorial planning”.
On a more optimistic note, the Vice-President of Côte d’Ivoire, Tiémkoko Meyliet Koné, highlighted the progress made during the 15th United Nations Conference on Desertification and Drought (COP 15) held in Abidjan in May, in which 196 governments participated directly or virtually. This is proof of “interest and consideration” for these issues. “Results are expected and will be implemented by many countries,” he said.
“COP15 was preceded by a summit of heads of state which validated the Abidjan agreement. It is a model that can allow all States to set up a system of reforestation and the fight against desertification,” he said.
*The Africa CEO Forum is co-organized by Jeune Afrique Media Group