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regular-article-logo Monday, 04 March 2024

Africa urges Putin to release stuck grain

Many countries across Africa and West Asia face alarming levels of hunger and starvation

Elian Peltier Published 04.06.22, 01:10 AM
 Vladimir Putin with Senegal’s President, Macky Sall, who is the chairman of the African Union, in Sochi, Russia, on Friday.

Vladimir Putin with Senegal’s President, Macky Sall, who is the chairman of the African Union, in Sochi, Russia, on Friday. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters

The leader of the African Union met President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia on Friday and urged him to release much-needed stocks of grain that are stuck in Ukraine as many countries across Africa and West Asia face alarming levels of hunger and starvation.

Macky Sall, the President of Senegal and current chairman of the regional organisation of the Africa’s 54 countries, said Russia’s blockade of grain was threatening food insecurity on the continent. He spoke during their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

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“Our countries, although they are far from the theater,” Sall said, “are victims of this crisis on an economic level.”

The meeting between Sall and Putin comes as tens of million of people in Africa are on the brink of severe hunger and even famine. On Friday, Chad, a landlocked nation of 17 million people, declared a food emergency and the UN has warned that nearly a third of the country’s population would need humanitarian assistance this year.

African countries are critically dependent on grain from Russia and Ukraine, which account for more than 40 per cent of the continent’s wheat imports. Countries like Rwanda, Tanzania and Senegal rely on both countries for more than 60 percent of such imports. In Egypt, that figure rises to 80 per cent, while Benin and Somalia rely entirely on Russia and Ukraine for wheat supply.

African countries are also dependent on fertilisers from Ukraine, and shortages will affect the planting season.

New York Times News Service

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