AFRICA: Prolonged War in Ukraine Likely to Affect Food Supply in African Nations

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Summary: Sustained conflict in Ukraine and expanded sanctions against Moscow will likely exacerbate hunger issues in African nations.

Development: On 16 March, the United Nations released a report titled The Impact on Trade and Development of the War in Ukraine, outlining rising issues patriating to food stability brought on by the Russia-Ukraine Conflict. The report detailed the increasing issues with wheat demand for a variety of developed and struggling African nations including Somalia, Egypt, Sudan, Congo, Madagascar, Libya, and Tunisia. The report outlined how 25 African countries import more than one-third of their wheat from either Russia or Ukraine; 15 of these nations receive over half. Furthermore, redundant suppliers lack the ability to replace imports from the Russian Federation and Ukraine through trade within Africa as wheat production appears comparatively small, and many parts of the continent lack efficient transport, infrastructure, and storage capacity. Patterns of civil unrest have coincided when food scarcity occurs in this region such as the 2007–2008 food riots and the Arab Spring of 2010.

Analysis: With the conflict continuing in Ukraine, farmers will likely face hardships in planting and harvesting seasonal crops. This will likely lead to issues with maintaining the current agriculture dependency throughout Africa. If not addressed in a rapid manner, supply and demand could lead to increased food scarcity in some of the most under-developed nations on the continent. Food scarcity will likely lead to civil unrest and possible regime changes based on similar scarcity cycles having coincided with major political events. The missing allocation of food will likely require subsidization from both government and non-government organizations to prevent unnecessary starvation and prevent civil unrest.

[Austin Perez]

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