AU chief lists conditions for emergence of 'new Africa'

Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki, on Wednesday said the African continent has become a collateral victim of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“By profoundly upsetting the fragile global geopolitical and geostrategic balance, it (Ukraine conflict) has also cast a harsh light on the structural fragility of African economies,’’ Faki said in a statement.

According to him, the ongoing conflict is characterised by a shrinking world supply of agricultural products and soaring inflation of food prices.

“The most emblematic sign of these fragilities is the food crisis following the climatic disorders, the health crisis of COVID-19, amplified today by the conflict in Ukraine,’’ he said.

In a report released earlier on Tuesday, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) warned that the Ukraine conflict could further stall Africa’s development trajectory, which is already significantly jeopardised by COVID-19.

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African countries were particularly affected due to their heavy reliance on imports from Russia and Ukraine.

In 2020, African countries imported agricultural products worth 4 billion U.S. dollars from Russia, 90 per cent of which was wheat, according to the report.

In addition, the conflict in Ukraine has led to a 21 per cent increase in the price of fertilisers, affecting African populations who remain mainly reliant on agriculture.

The report says that shortages and interruptions in food and fertiliser supply chains will increase hunger in Africa.

The impacts of fertiliser shortages will affect this year’s planting season and will be felt throughout next year, according to the report.

Xinhua

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