Rising Poverty, Hunger, Energy Crisis: 3 Ways Russia’s War in Ukraine Is Taking a Toll on Millions of Africans

Rising Poverty, Hunger, Energy Crisis: 3 Ways Russia’s War in Ukraine Is Taking a Toll on Millions of Africans

Since Thursday, February 24, 2022, Ukraine has continued to courageously defend its territory from the Russian invaders.

However, this has come at a great cost: 11,544 civilian casualties (5,024 killed and 6,520 injured) were recorded in Ukraine from 4am on 24 February 2022 when the attack began to 24:00 midnight on 11 July 2022, according to the UN.

Zelenskyy/Russia's War in Ukraine/How Africans are Affected
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy is pictured during a joint briefing with the Prime Minister of Netherlands, Mark Rutte in Kyiv. Photo credit: Pavlo Bahmut/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing
Source: Getty Images

A recent report by The Guardian UK also stated that “Ukrainian casualties are running at a rate of somewhere between 600 and 1,000 a day.”

In a recent interview with Legit.ng, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, painted, with grim words, the atrocities the Russian forces are committing in the country.

The senior presidential aide compared what is happening in Ukraine with the Rwandan genocide.

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Russian troops are destroying Ukraine’s settlements by hundreds and killing tens of thousands of civilians, according to him.

The Russian forces, Mr Yermak said, are also deporting “hundreds of thousands to Russia, where they find themselves in the position of slaves.”

He added that over 12 million people have become refugees.

“Russians behave like occupiers, no matter what picture the Russian propaganda shows. Their soldiers r*ape, kill and rob. The state behaves like a marauder,” he told Legit.ng.

Meanwhile, it’s not only Ukrainians who are victims of Russian aggression. Thousands of miles away from Ukraine, the Russian war is taking a toll on millions of Africans from various angles such as food shortage due to import restrictions, an astronomical rise in prices of food and energy crisis.

1. Food insecurity/food shortage

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is causing a food shortage in Africa as the continent has a high cereal imports dependency ratio (40% of its available food supply of cereals is imported rather than coming from domestic production), according to a report by Iryna Sikora, Associate Director, Ricardo Energy and Environment and Daryna Grechyna, Associate Professor, University of Granada.

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Many countries in Africa rely on food imports from Ukraine and Russia. More than half of all the imported cereals in the Republic of Congo and Tanzania in 2020 came from Russia and more than 43% of cereal imports in Tunisia in 2019 came from Ukraine, according to UN Comtrade data.

In Benin, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Niger, Tanzania and Mauritania wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine constitute 60% or more of consumption, according to a recent World Bank report.

In Ethiopia, over three-quarters of the World Food Program and government wheat come from Ukraine or Russia.

The continent is now feeling the pains of food insecurity because there is a blockage of the import flows due to the raging war.

Mr Yermak said Russia is creating the food crisis by limiting its own exports and blocking Ukraine from exporting its grain and wheat.

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According to the IMF, about 24 countries are at high risk of food insecurity or moderate risk with deteriorating conditions. Most of them are located in Africa.

2. Rise in food prices

The blockade of the import flows results in a rise in food prices the impact of which many Africans are feeling on “the shelves in the stores.”

The previously cited World Bank report also reveals that the price of wheat has jumped by more than 40 percent since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war in February.

The rise in food prices and the blockage of the import flows due to the war are likely to further exacerbate the prevalence of stunting in children under 5 years in Africa, which was around 30% in 2018, Sikora and Grechyna further stated, making reference to a report by Food and Agriculture Organization.

In summary, Africa is facing increased poverty, hunger and looming social unrest due to the Russian war.

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The World Bank estimates that the impact of the pandemic, worsened by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and related inflation, may push more than 25 million additional sub‐Saharan Africans to extreme poverty by the end of 2022.

3. Energy crisis

The Russian war is also putting pressure on Africa’s energy consumption.

Sikora and Grechyna in their report highlighted how the war is affecting the energy consumption in many African countries.

“Russia exports fossil fuels, mainly crude oil and natural gas, but also coal. Energy price increases caused by disruptions of supply hit the most vulnerable economies the hardest.
“Importers, such as Cabo Verde, Botswana, Mauritius and Togo are hurt by price increases, as they consume energy directly and use it as inputs to produce other goods and services for export,” the scholars stated.

They added that even energy-exporting African countries are feeling the brunt “from the energy price shocks, due to limitations in refinery capacity obligating them to export crude oil and import refined products.”

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“In oil-exporting Nigeria, for example, the prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) increased by more than 60% and diesel by more than 150% compared to last year. The International Energy Agency estimates that up to 20 million sub‐Saharan Africans who had recently gained access to basic electricity services and/or modern cooking fuels such as LPG will no longer be able to pay for these services,” Sikora and Grechyna stated.

In simple terms, there is looming darkness in Africa as millions of households on the continent may soon be unable to have access to electricity. They will also be unable to afford the cooking gas.

At the beginning of the Russian aggression in February, a report forecast that Gas prices in Nigeria may soar due to the crisis.

By April, barely two months after, another report confirmed that Gas prices had soared and many Nigerians had now turned to firewood and charcoal, a form of cooking that exposes the world to environmental disasters.

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The Vice President, Nigeria LPG Association, NLPGA, Felix Ekundayo, attributed the rising cost of cooking gas to the Russian war, according to Global Financial Digest.

The situation is similar in Kenya and other African countries.

“Cameroonians, Nigerians closer to us than Russians": Ukraine to build new relationship with Africa

Meanwhile, a previous report by Legit.ng. Mr Yermak, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, said the Ukrainian government led by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had commenced moves to expand the country’s relations with Africa.

According to him, Russia's present war and aggression have shown the world that we must cooperate more closely for the benefit of our people.

Mr Yermak said the Ukrainian president recently addressed the leaders of the African Union on the new relationship.

Source: Legit.ng

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