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The Effect of the Russia/Ukraine War on Africa and Cameroon
The Russia-Ukraine war is an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014. ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2022_Russian_invasion_of_Ukraine )
THE EFFECT ON AFRICA
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.
About 7 months ago, global wheat, sunflower, and oil crude prices have soared to unprecedented levels. Africa is heavily reliant on food imports from both countries, and the continent is already experiencing price shocks and disruption in the supply of these commodities.
The conflict has impacted food security in Africa negatively, through pricing and availability in some food crops, particularly wheat and sunflower, as well as socio-economic recovery and growth, triggered by rising uncertainties in the global financial markets and supply chain system. ( https://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/may-2022/how-rissia-ukraine-conflict%C2%A0impacts-africa )
· On Wheat
Russia and Ukraine are both often referred to as the world’s breadbasket. North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and Libya), Nigeria in West Africa, Ethiopia and Sudan in East Africa, and South Africa account for 80 percent of wheat imports. Wheat consumption in Africa is projected to reach 76.5 million tons by 2025, for which 48.3 million tons or 63.4 percent are projected to be imported outside of the continent.
In 2021, for example, Kenya imported almost 30 percent of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. A supply disruption would affect the production of bread in Kenya, which Eziakonwa (U.N. Assistant Secretary-General) noted is the third most consumed food item in that country. ( https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/06/russias-war-ukraine-taking-toll-africa )
· On Fertilizers
The sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries have hindered commercial flow between Russia and Africa due to the closure of vital port operations in the Black Sea. Russia is one of the world’s biggest exporters of fertilizers. Concerns are growing that a worldwide shortage of fertilizer will lead to rising food prices, with knock-on effects on agricultural production and food security.
Cameroon imported 44 percent of its fertilizers from Russia in 2021. In West Africa, where planting season is starting, analysts fear that this distribution could have a dire impact on crop yield and compromise food security. (https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/06/russias-war-ukraine-taking-toll-africa )
· On Oil
Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer behind the United State and Saudi Arabia. The disruption of the oil prices on the world market is expected to lead to an increase in fuel prices and a higher cost of food production.
· On Iron and Steel
60 percent of Ghana’s iron ore and steel imports come from Ukraine. As a result of the war, the construction industry in Ghana is likely to face significant challenges. (from: https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/06/russias-war-ukraine-taking-toll-africa )
· And many others
The real effect on Africa is related to the level of dependency on oil and gas exports or imports, imported grains and fertilizer, and tourism, among others. And the most visible impact of the war on Africa is the rising fuel and food prices, inflation, and financial instability. The poorest are the hardest hit as a large proportion of their consumption expenditure is on food and transport.
The effect on Cameroon
As countries, especially developing ones, gnash their teeth in the rather raging upheavals between East European giants; Russia and Ukraine, Cameroon may beat its chest to be one of the few resilient economies, but the weight of the war is fast weighing down the national economy.
Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, price hikes have been noted globally on key commodities exported by both Ukraine and Russia, such as wheat, fuel, and fertilizer. (https://www.cameroon-tribune.cm/article.html/49912/fr.html/russia-ukraine-war-the-toll-on)
Cameroon’s government says Russia’s war on Ukraine is responsible for a wheat shortage that has led to a 40 percent increase in the price of bread.
More than 40 consumers are waiting for bread Monday morning at the La Mama bakery in Mokolo, a neighborhood in Cameroon’s capital.
Youssoufa Daouda, who sells bread at the bakery, said in the past 2 weeks the bakery has served less than 200 of its usual 500 daily customers. Daouda said the price of a 50-kilogram bag of wheat flour increased from $35 to between $50 and $60, and the supply is not regular.
Cameroon produces less than one-fourth of the 1.6 million tons of wheat it needs each year. In the last year 2021, Cameroon imported more than 850,000 tons from Russia and Ukraine.
Cameroon imported 44 percent of its fertilizers from Russia in 2021. In West Africa, where planting season is starting, analysts fear that this distribution could have a dire impact on crop yield and compromise food security. ( https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/06/russias-war-Ukraine-taking-toll-Africa )
The war in Ukraine has accentuated inflation, impacting the prices of agricultural and non-agricultural products in the global and Cameroon markets, thus affecting households’ purchasing power.
In terms of imports, Ukraine is the main supplier of steel products in Cameroon, with a market share of 35% (OEC, 2019). In 2020, Russia was one of Cameroon’s main suppliers of wheat and fertilizer, accounting for 45% of total wheat imports and 43% of the fertilizer market (INS, 2022). ( https://reliefweb.int/report/cameroon/wfp-cameroon-impact-ukraine-crisis-local-markets-cameroon-april-2022)
The conflict between these two European countries shouldn’t keep a continent like Africa hungry; with 600 million hectares of arable land that can be used for agriculture purposes and brought to zero the continent’s hunger. Let us wake up from food dependency on other countries.
A 54-country continent being held hungry by 2 European countries alone is a situation to be corrected. Many are dying of hunger in Africa with abundant arable land at our disposal. Let us work. In the past, we were told that wheat can’t grow in some parts of Africa, We can grow wheat in Africa if the Governments invest money into research. The countries like Cameroon, South Africa, Kenya, Sudan, and others can grow wheat.
Cassava, plantain, yam, and sweet potato flour can be used as substitutes for wheat flour, We have to reduce our dependency on wheat flour. Today more than 20 million Sub- Saharan Africans are going through hunger and starvation.
Conflicts and wars globally have left many orphans starving, As prices of food continue to soar many don't visit orphanages or assist orphans. Many are dying of hunger and starvation they need your help. Do a DONATION through this link and feed an orphan. If we don't do it who will?