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The war in Ukraine: Africa risks paying a heavy price for neutrality


Far from being swift, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine now looks likely to become a long-running war of attrition. It will therefore have an accumulating, and increasingly drastic, impact on Africa unless it can be brought to swift end.

But can African countries influence that? And do they want to?

This article argues that both African and western countries need to change their approach if Africa is to suffer less damage from the crisis. If it continues to sit on the fence, it risks exacerbating conflict in Africa itself.

The Ukraine war has compounded the economic problems caused by the pandemic. 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 20%-40% increase in oil and gas prices has hit consumers and manufacturers as well as farmers through the price of fertiliser. And as revenue falls and demand for government spending rises, there is a growing risk of debt distress. This is true even of hitherto stable countries like Ghana. Continue Reading


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