Implications of Russia-Ukraine conflict for Africa


Khalid Cherkaoui Semmouni
Professor of political science and international relations
University Mohammed V Rabat

The war in Ukraine has diverted global political attention from Africa’s problems, and made it harder for the UN to lead international peace-making efforts. It increased politic conflict throughout Africa and could affect food security and trigger a spike in oil prices, inflicting economic duress on African households. Increased economic hardship and social discontent do not bode well for democratic governance in Africa, especially in light of the recent spate of military coups.

While Africa is yet to fully recover from the socio-economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine conflict poses another major threat to the global economy with many African countries being directly affected .

Also, both the International Monetary Fund and UNECA have emphasised the economic damage being done to African countries. On top of food price inflation and Africa’s dependence on food supplies from both Ukraine and Russia, the World Food Programme has highlighted the shortage of emergency supplies to feed the starving in drought-struck eastern Africa . .

The Russia-Ukraine conflict will likely impact food security in Africa. Over the past decade, the Continent has seen growing demand for cereal crops, including wheat, imported from Russia and Ukraine.

It should be noted that Russia and Ukraine, both often referred to as the world’s breadbasket, are major players in the export of wheat and sunflower to Africa. North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia), Nigeria in West Africa, Ethiopia and Sudan in East Africa, and South Africa account for 80 per cent of wheat imports.

In addition , the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries will further exacerbate commercial flows between Russia and Africa due to the closure of vital port operations in the Black Sea , with knock-on effects for food security and increase in fuel prices .

Some regions, including the Sahel region, are at greater risk of food insecurity due to country-specific shocks, climate change , political instability, extreme weather events and climate change; limited adoption of yield-increasing technologies; dependency on rain-fed agriculture and low levels of irrigation.

For to lower future food price shocks caused by rising oil and gas prices , The countries that produce fuel and gas should boosting production in face fuel price shocks, and consequently , to lower food costs. In addition, African governments should invest in or attract greater international investment in oil and gas exploration.

« Russia’s war in Ukraine has disrupted Africa’s promising recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by raising food and fuel prices, disrupting trade of goods and services, tightening the fiscal space, constraining green transitions and reducing the flow of development finance in the continent « .Said United Nations Assistant Secretary-General Ahunna Eziakonwa .

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has put communities and countries across Africa in a very precarious situation. Consequently , the African countries must leverage their resources and human capabilities to address impact of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine and advance their challenges development and security .

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