Africa: COVID “pushed back” democracy, the war in Ukraine further increases the risks |
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will affect food security on the continentdue to both availability and pricing of imported food, as well as growing uncertainty in global financial markets and supply chains.
Russia and Ukraine, often referred to as the breadbaskets of the world, are the main players in wheat and sunflower exports to Africa.
Between them, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Africa account for 80% of all wheat imports, which are projected to reach 76.5 million tons by 2025.
AT media briefing in Geneva on the impact of the war in Ukraine on Africa Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) African Bureau, said that in COVID-19 The pandemic has already sparked ‘huge discontent’ across the continent.
She added that COVID has pushed tens of millions of people into poverty and “pushed back” democracy in parts of Africa.
The biggest problems
The pandemic has also complicated efforts to overcome insecurity and violence, the UNDP regional director continued, referring to the violent extremism and climate shocks that have destabilized large parts of the Sahel region in recent years.
Drawing attention to the “global pandemic that has upended the world and changed it forever,” the bureau chief said: “we have never faced such pressure and challenges in our ability to maintain peace, development and a healthy planet as we do today“.
“We have seen how COVID-19 has complicated efforts to maintain or overcome insecurity created by many forces, including violent extremism, and the impact of this, the consequences, have taken a toll on lives and livelihoods, but also caused huge discontent among the population, which is leading to regression in democracy.”
It also led to a resurgence of “pre-existing conditions, rising poverty and inequality,” she added.
UNDP Senior Africa Economist Raymond Gilpin said the continent’s dependence on imported food, fuel, medicines and consumer goods makes it particularly vulnerable to rising global inflation.
Description of the situation asan unprecedented crisis for the continent, he explained that Africa is facing the triple impact of “the ongoing effects of COVID… the new effects of the Russo-Ukrainian war and… climate-related challenges and pressures.”“.
“As the cost of fuel becomes more expensive, energy sources, energy prices in African countries do not fall, we will see millions of households return to unsustainable energy sources, and this in many unstable conditions, in particular with places like the Sahel,” said Mr. Gilpin.
“We will see much more deforestation and a rollback of the significant progress made in greening the Sahel.”
Moreover, tensions are likely to escalate with a “clear chance” of escalating into violent protests, he added.
visit of the head of the UN
Meanwhile, during a visit to Senegal last Sunday, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “when discussing the socio-economic situation, it is impossible not to mention the war in Ukraine and its impact on Africa,”, which exacerbated the “triple food, energy and financial crisis” on the African continent.