Senegal's Sall: Discrimination against SA over Omicron threatens transparency

Sall is the latest African head of state to speak against the imposition of travel bans on the continent’s citizens - firstly in southern Africa and most recently Nigeria - in the wake of the discovery of the Omicron variant.

President Cyril Ramaphosa meets the president Senegal, Macky Sall in December 2021. The visit marks the end of the President’s 4-nation visit to West Africa which has included the Republics of Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire & Ghana.

DAKAR - Senegalese President Macky Sall said the discrimination imposed on South Africa for sharing its discovery of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus threatens transparency in the handling of the pandemic, describing it as a way to call on others not to publish their results.

Sall is the latest African head of state to speak against the imposition of travel bans on the continent’s citizens - firstly in southern Africa and most recently Nigeria - in the wake of the discovery of the Omicron variant.

Speaking at the Senegal Peace and Security conference in Dakar where President Cyril Ramaphosa is among the headline speakers, Sall described the developments as disturbing.

States in the west of the continent have bolstered South Africa's calls for the lifting of the travel bans imposed by developed economies including four African states.

Addressing the conference in French, Sall said the restrictions are counterproductive and discriminatory while the real threat is a future where new discoveries are hidden from the global community over fears of similar reprissals.

He criticised the fact that instead of bringing countries of the world together, the pandemic has instead created new differences between rich and poor countries.

When it was his turn to speak, Ramaphosa called out northern countries over the bans, describing them as hypocrites.

"They have always said to us 'base your decisions on science' but when the moment comes for them to be more scientific they are not. They resort to their own self-interests," Ramaphosa said.

Speakers at the Peace and Security forum - including president of Niger Mohamed Bazoum and Guinea Bissau's Umaro Sissoco Embalo - have all reflected on the threat that the ineffective handling of the pandemic threatens peace and security on the continent.