African Union head finds common ground
with Putin regarding sanctions


June. 13, 2022 (GIN) – African Union chair Macky Sall, after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, addressed his western and European “partners” with a plea to remove their sanctions hurting African economies.
Senegalese president Sall underscored the pain resulting from the barrage of international sanctions on Russia which have disrupted supplies of fertilizer, wheat and other commodities, pushing up prices for food and fuel. 
“We no longer have access to grain from Russia and especially fertilizer” that is crucial for Africa’s “already deficient agriculture,” Sall said at the meeting of the leaders at Putin’s Black Sea residence in Sochi on the 100th day of Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.
Sall was joined by the AU Commission Chairman, Moussa Faki Mahamat at the confab.
African countries are “victims” of the Ukraine conflict, Sall was quoted to say by the French news agency, adding that food supplies should be “outside” of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over Ukraine.
Neither the U.S. nor the EU has sanctioned Russian fertilizers or wheat, but the African Union is concerned that sanctions on Russia’s financial system will make it harder for countries to buy them.
Putin blames the West for the global food and energy crises and repeated his government’s offers of safe passage for ships exporting grain from Ukraine, one of the world’s leading exporters of wheat and corn.
“We will facilitate the peaceful passage and guarantee the safety of arrivals to these ports, as well as the entry of foreign ships and their movement through the Azov and Black seas, in any direction,” Putin pledged, in remarks carried on Russian state TV after his meeting with the African heads of state.
African countries are especially hard hit by the food shortages and price increases. They imported 44% of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine between 2018 and 2020, according to U.N. figures, and wheat prices have soared around 45% as a result of the supply disruption, according to the African Development Bank.
“The fact that this crisis brought the cessation of exports from Ukraine, but also from Russia because of sanctions, we have found ourselves in between these two,” Sall told reporters. “It’s of absolute necessity that they (Western partners) help to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grains, but also that Russia is able to export fertilizers, food products, but mainly cereals.”
After initially citing Russian propaganda, Sall’s message is now strikingly similar to Moscow’s line, observes the news site Politico, by driving a wedge in international support for sanctions.. 
Senegal was one of 17 African nations that abstained from voting on the U.N. resolution condemning Russia’s military action in Ukraine. Sall reportedly told Putin many African countries didn’t condemn Moscow despite what he described as strong pressure to do so.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has warned that 18 million people are facing severe hunger in the Sahel, the part of Africa just below the Sahara Desert where farmers are facing their worst agricultural production in more than a decade. About 13 million more people face severe hunger in the Horn of Africa region as a result of a persistent drought.


Newswire : $420 million needed to implement Covid-19 strategy in Africa

Map of Africa

by BlackmansStreet.Today

Implementation of the Africa Continental Strategy on Covid-19, will cost $420 million over the next six months, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, commission chairperson of the African Union, which is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“The economic dimension aims to realize debt relief for the continent, and the provision of sufficient liquidity to get Africa through the crisis,” Mahamat said.
African Union Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa, who is also president of South Africa, has appointed four special envoys to advocate with partners and the international community to provide substantial support to Africa in the face of the potential crisis caused by Covid-19.
As of April 21, the African Union reported 23,505 Covid-19 cases and 1,158 deaths in 52 African countries.
The five African countries with the highest number of cases are: Egypt (3,333; 14%), South African (3,300; 14%), Morocco (3,064; 13%), Algeria (2,718; 12%) and Cameroon (1,163; 5%).
The World Health Organization reported that as of May 1, there were 40,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 1,600 deaths in Africa.
The African Union announced that it is in discussions with the Republic of Madagascar to obtain technical data concerning the safety and efficiency of Artemisia annua, an herbal remedy to prevent and treat Covid-19.
The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention will review the scientific data gathered so far on the safety and efficacy of Covid-19 organics, the African Union reported.
Madagascar’s president, Andry Rajoelina, unveiled an unproven cure for COVID-19 that is derived from a plant, also known as Sweet wormwood.The remedy is called Covid Organics and it is marketed as an herbal tea that people drink.
Madagascar has a low number of confirmed Covid-19 cases — just 121 out of a population of 26 million — and no reported deaths as of April 20. Madagascar is an Island nation off the coast of Africa.
Sweet wormwood, which is grown in Africa and in China, is successfully used to treat fevers.

U. N. chief cites ‘chapters of inaction’ as Rwanda marks 23rd memorial year

Rwanda poster

Apr. 3, 2017 (GIN) – The poison of intolerance still exists around the world, laments U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Even today, minorities and other groups suffer attacks and exploitation based on who they are.”

Guterres sent his message recalling “tragic chapters of hatred, inaction and indifference” on the occasion of the International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda.

“Preventing genocide and other monstrous crimes is a shared responsibility and a core duty of the United Nations,” he said. “The world must always be alert to the warning signs of genocide and act quickly and early against the threat.”

Halfway around the world, Rwandan President Paul Kagame was delivering a powerful and inspirational speech as Rwandans in the country and abroad began activities to recall the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the killing of moderate Hutus.

The President consoled survivors, saying they still have a family in the nation that they belong to even if they lost their families during the Genocide. He reassured all Rwandans that no one will ever again be targeted because of who they are.

The Head of State delivered the message at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Gisozi, from where week-long activities to remember the Genocide kicked off.

“To remember is a must,” he said. “When you look back in history, as this was about to happen, when it was happening and afterwards, there are those who had a role in pitting people against each other. Countries, international organizations, individuals…

“But there are others who did what they could, or had to do.

“At the forefront (to defend Rwanda) were some Africans,” he said. “Also the African Union. Not too long ago, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union Commission Chairperson, stood up and said Rwandans shouldn’t continue to be targeted.”