The South African government says armed conflict will no doubt result in human suffering and destruction, the effects of which will not only affect Ukraine but also reverberate across the world.
Russian troops recently invaded Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin declared war in a televised address on Wednesday, 23 February.
However, the conflict between the two nations will have a huge impact on the global economy in a moment when we are emerging from the COVID pandemic and so many developing countries need to have space for recovery.
How will it impact Africa?
According to Wandile Sihlobo, from the Department of Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University, both countries play a significant role when it comes to the global agricultural market, as per IOL.
- African countries imported agricultural products worth US$4 billion from Russia in 2020
- About 90% of this was wheat, and 6% was sunflower oil
- Major importing countries were Egypt, which accounted for nearly half of the imports, followed by Sudan, Nigeria, Tanzania, Algeria, Kenya and South Africa
- Ukraine exported US$2.9 billion worth of agricultural products to the African continent in 2020
- Russia and Ukraine are major role players in maize, responsible for a combined maize production of 4%
- The two nations’ contribution is even more significant in exports, accounting for 14% of global maize exports in 2020. Both countries are also among the leading producers and exporters of sunflower oil
Sihlobo said that in the build-up to Russia’s attack on Ukraine, there has already been a spike in the international prices of a number of commodities. According to Sihlobo, from an African agriculture perspective, the impact of the war will be felt in the near term.
“The Russia-Ukraine conflict also comes at a time when the drought in South America and rising demand for grains and oilseeds in India and China has put pressure on prices,” Sihlobo was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, every agricultural role-player is keeping an eye on the developments in the Black Sea region. The impact will also be felt in other regions, such as the Middle East and Asia, which also imports a substantial volume of grains and oilseeds from Ukraine and Russia.